Over 24,000 patients and healthy members of the public take part in clinical research in the South West of England. A significant number hear about the opportunity to participate in a health research study through their GP and are recruited to a study run by their local practice.
There are rigorous processes in place, including a review by an NHS Research Ethics Committee, to protect the rights, dignity, safety and wellbeing of participants in research.
Clinical trials are research studies in which people help test treatments or approaches to prevention or diagnosis of health conditions to evaluate whether they are safe and effective.
Each trial is designed to keep risk to a minimum. Research active health professionals can only ask people to take part in a study who are suitable for the treatments.
Clinical trials are one stage of long and thorough health research. Trials are carried out in carefully planned phases, allowing researchers to ask and answer questions in a way to provide reliable information in the best interests of the participants.
Trials are an important part of the process the NHS goes through in making decisions about which approaches to prevent, diagnose or treat conditions should be made available to the public.
Research study participants say benefits of taking part include:
- Learning more about their health condition and how best to manage it
- Feeling empowered
- Access to the very latest treatments
- Feeling good knowing helping others even if not going to necessarily reap the benefits directly themselves
- Satisfaction of contributing to medical advances
- Reassured health care professionals are doing their best for their patients
- Reassured by closer monitoring of their health condition
- Research gives hope
To find out what clinical research studies are running – www.ukctg.nihr.ac.uk – (national database held by the National Institute for Health Research (NHR) which is the research arm of the NHS.
Or ask your doctor or nurse treating you if there are any suitable opportunities for your participation in research studies at this practice.