Helping peopleheader

Transforming lives

Each year, nearly three quarters of a million of people help the NHS to improve healthcare and develop life-saving treatments by taking part in health research.

The latest NIHR figures, which cover the twelve month period between April 2017 and March 2018, suggest that health research is thriving across the country and patients have more opportunity than ever to take part in important health research studies within the NHS and other settings.

The NIHR funds and support research - while also helping people to access and take part in studies which could potentially make a real difference to their health conditions and quality of life. - Besides the potential benefits to the participants themselves, taking part in research is vital in helping to improving our understanding of complex health conditions and ensuring that cutting edge new treatments eventually become available to the public through the NHS.

In 2017/18, 725,333 people participated in NIHR-supported clinical research studies - the highest number since records began. The number of people participating in NIHR-supported life sciences industry studies rose by 45 percent, with NIHR helping to recruit 50,112 participants into commercial research studies within the NHS, primary care and other health settings across England. 

This video tells the story of three patients whose lives have been transformed by clinical research, and the importance of getting involved

Nicola Whitehill, 45, has taken part in three pharmaceutically-led clinical studies since being diagnosed with a rare, chronic disease - Raynaud's and Scleroderma.


“By taking part in life sciences industry studies, patients are participating in new and innovative forms of treatment which will provide evidence for future improved care for all patients. The knowledge gained could provide the evidence to license new treatments in the NHS securing healthy lives for future generations.” - Dr Jonathan Sheffield OBE, Chief Executive Officer of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN).

In this video, Nicola talks about how taking part in trials provided a glimmer of hope for her, and access to new treatments which potentially could improve her condition.

Before I started taking part in clinical trials, having been told the disease I had was likely to kill me and had no cure - my situation was like a dark tunnel without any light at the end

-Nicola Whitehill

To find out more about the different ways you can support health research, take a look at our I Am Research campaign, which launched in spring 2018.

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