The NIHR has highlighted its continuing commitment to ensuring patients, carers and the public have a say in and help to shape health and care research during the COVID-19 pandemic, in line with its long standing commitment to patient and public involvement, engagement and participation (PIE) in health and care research.
The current COVID-19 pandemic might physically and emotionally affect those who are part of PIE communities (whether patient and public contributors, collaborators, partners, NIHR staff or other professionals), including while they are shaping and delivering NIHR research together.
The urgency of research on COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and recovery means that the timings and approach to delivering other research have been affected. In addition, frontline care needs mean that many research professionals have returned to medical work in the NHS.
Despite this current rapidly changing context for health and care research, the NIHR remains strongly committed to PIE during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NIHR Public Involvement Senior Leadership Team - which includes leads for public involvement across NIHR Coordinating Centres, public members and partners - has agreed new commitments for PIE during the pandemic.
These eight commitments are aligned to the UK Standards for Public Involvement and will shape a shared NIHR approach to maintaining and progressing PIE during this period.
The new NIHR Centre for Engagement and Dissemination (CED) will work in partnership with existing networks to support the commitments nationally by:
- Collating examples of good practice, resources, tools and information relevant to PIE in the current situation and sharing them on the NIHR Learning for Involvement website
- Coordinating responses to any significant issues or opportunities that emerge, working with the SLT, PIE leads and public contributors, linking with the other nations of the UK and international partners
Jeremy Taylor, NIHR Director for Public Voice and Director of NIHR CED, said: “Health research should be a shared enterprise with patients, carers and communities. COVID-19 has not changed this. Indeed, the public contribution to research on the pandemic is vital. Let's renew our commitment to partnership working.
“Please share your good practice and resources with us and also let us know of obstacles that we can seek to remove."
The NIHR encourages engagement and support from all colleagues with PIE responsibilities, as well as patient and public contributors, to bring these commitments to life. We’re also encouraging you to share examples of good practice, resources, tools and information on the NIHR Learning for Involvement website.