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Draft budget proposes one-third cut to clinical research funding

A hospital research chief says the quality of medical research and care may suffer due to the proposed government budget cuts.

Hospital administrators say severe cuts pose many risks for medical research and care. Image: AOP
Yle News

The 2019 budget proposal from the Ministry of Finance has earmarked 15 million euros for clinical research in Finland's network of university hospitals, down by almost a third from this year's funding level of 21 million euros.

Medical researchers say the planned six-million-euro reduction has them worried.

"This research funding is absolutely crucial for clinical R&D," says the capital city region's Uusimaa Hospital District's (HUS) research chief Anne Pitkäranta. "The money is required to improve the level of care our patients receive."

HUS usually receives some 40 percent of the government's entire research funding allocation. The money has been used to finance a great number of research initiatives, such as projects focusing on the efficacy of certain surgical procedures or research on new forms of treatment.

Pitkäranta says that a drop in clinical research funding would also have a broader effect. Beyond the direct implications for patients, it would also lead to fewer resources being used to develop Finnish medicine. This is because the clinical research being carried out in universities is often dependent upon the activities of the university hospitals.

"If there's no money for research it means we will have no researchers. That means international companies are also very unlikely to share their research with us."

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