Patients, carers, and the public are essential to our work. You are our greatest strength and we could not do our work without your help. Involving you in our work is one of our key organisational goals.
More people than ever before are taking part in research studies. New and better treatments and services become available because people take part in our research. Members of the public are also getting involved in advising us about what research should be funded and helping to design research studies. Patient data is informing research. Research that reflects the needs and views of the public is more likely to produce results that can be used to improve health and social care.
We define public involvement in research as research being carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them. This includes, for example, working with research funders to prioritise research, offering advice as members of a project steering group, commenting on and developing research materials and undertaking interviews with research participants.
When we use the term ‘public’ we are including patients, potential patients, carers and people who use health and social care services as well as people from organisations that represent people who use services. Whilst all of us are actual, former or indeed potential users of health and social care services, there is an important distinction to be made between the perspectives of the public and the perspectives of people who have a professional role in health and social care services.