Our experience at the NIHR is that patients and the public are interested in being part of and getting involved with health and social care research for a variety of reasons. Most of all, not only are they hopeful of benefiting from more treatments but they also want to help others who are experiencing the same condition as them.
As a health or social care professional you have a great opportunity to encourage more patients and carers to be part of research which will improve future health care and treatment. In fact we know that your relationship with patients is crucial to helping patients find their way into research. So here are some of the ways you can help us:
By helping patients find information
You can support your patients and their families or carer to get information about clinical trials which might be beneficial to them. You can point people in the direction of our new website ‘Be Part of Research.’ This provides accessible information on studies that are running at the moment but also explains what it’s like to be in a trial.
If a patient or their family is interested in contributing to research beyond taking part in a study you can direct them to ‘I want to help with research'. This page contains information on involvement in research, what it might look like and also contains links to useful resources and places to find involvement opportunities.
To find out more about how researchers involve patients, carers and members of the public in research, please see the NIHR Briefing Notes for Researchers, and UK Standards for Public Involvement.
By supporting patients to share their experience
We also need patients and carers to share their insight and experience with researchers. This expertise means we can do the right research which will improve all aspects of health care - including patient safety, patient experience and health outcomes – ultimately giving people the power to live healthier lives.
The researchers we fund have to involve patients, carers and the public in prioritising, designing, delivering and disseminating their research. Your patients can therefore get involved with us in a number of ways. From being part of one of our advisory groups to becoming a Research Champion. Please help them to find out more about these opportunities.
By encouraging them to help the NHS
Participation and engagement, by the people who use and care about NHS services, leads to a greater understanding and better ability to respond to their needs; including those people who have the poorest health. This helps improve access to services and reduce differences in health in different communities and to see things through the eyes of those who use services. NHS England provides a variety of ways for patients and the public to participate and get involved in research.