The Role of a Patient Research Ambassador

The aim of the Patient Research Ambassador project is to encourage the involvement of both patients and NHS researchers to recognise the importance of research in delivering health care. As a Patient Research Ambassador you can help ensure that people using local NHS care have the best opportunities and choices made available to them about taking part in research studies.

What does the role involve?

As a Patient Research Ambassador you can contribute according to your skills and interests and the time that you have available.

You can help the NHS become more research active through any one of the following examples:

  • By raising awareness of research to patients, carers and the public (for example, via events and health awareness days)
  • Be involved locally to support national initiatives such as the I Am Research campaign
  • Assist with the training of research staff to promote quality research
  • Be a resource for any patients, carers and the public who are thinking about taking part in research

The above are just some of the activities a Patient Research Ambassador could be involved with, see 10 things you can do to promote health research for more. The role is likely to evolve to suit the changing needs of the NHS care organisation and the developing skills, experience, abilities and preferences of the Patient Research Ambassadors involved.

Dr. William van't Hoff, Clinical Director for NHS Engagement, talks about the work and successes of Patient Research Ambassadors, as well as future prospects for the project, in the video below. 

Who decides the role?

The nature of a Patient Research Ambassadors contribution will be a matter for negotiation between yourself and the organisation you are involved with. If you are not involved with any organisation at the moment but would like to be, your local Patient Research Ambassador contact can discuss options with you.

What’s the time commitment?

Patient Research Ambassadors are generally part-time, perhaps giving two or three hours a month. Others may accept regular weekly commitments. It’s down to negotiation and reconciling the Patient Research Ambassador's interests with the needs of the NHS care organisation they are involved with.

How are Patient Research Ambassadors supported?

Support in the form of mentoring, providing guidance and possibly learning opportunities for Patient Research Ambassadors is primarily the responsibility of the NHS care organisation who appoints Ambassadors. However, this may also be provided by staff who are employed in one of the fifteen Local Clinical Research Networks in each region of the country (see contact details). Guidance for NHS care organisations on how to support Patient Research Ambassadors can be found here.

In addition to receiving support locally, we have developed a Learn about Research which can be used by anybody who has an interest in patient and public involvement and engagement in research.