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Take part in research

At UHBristol, research is at the centre of what we do, providing healthcare, research and teaching of the highest quality to improve outcomes for our patients.  Research is embedded in the care we provide, and we aim to offer the chance of taking part in research to as many of our patients as we can. 

How to take part

  • Eligibility- to participate in a clinical trial, a patient must be eligible to take part.  We ensure the patient matches certain criteria and that the trial is appropriate and safe for the individual involved.  
  • Invitation- during your time within our hospitals, you or a member of your family may be invited to take part in a trial that is relevant to you.
  • Volunteer- you can volunteer to take part in research by speaking to any of our health professionals to see if you are eligible - talk to your GP, consultant or nursing staff.

Participant information sheet

If you are invited to participate in a clinical trial relevant to you, you will be provided with an ethically approved information sheet which will explain what the trial involves.  A member of the research team will go through this with you, to ensure you have a complete understanding of the trial, before you decide to go ahead and give your consent to participate.

In most circumstances, you will have some time to think about whether taking part would be right for you, and it may help to discuss this with a friend or relative.  The participant information sheet will have the contact details of the research team for your trial and you can raise any queries you might have directly with them.

Consent

Informed consent in clinical trials must occur before any clinical trial-related procedures are conducted.  The process consists of a document and conversations between the clinical trial participant and the principal investigator (PI) and/or delegated health care professionals.

Every clinical trial has its own risks and benefits, and it is important to understand these before you give your consent.  It is a good idea to find out as much as you can about the trial, by asking lots of questions of the doctor or researcher running the trial.

Considering taking part in a trial?

Here are some useful questions to ask your clinician.  Read more on the UK Clinical Trials Gateway

  • What is the aim of the trial?
  • How will the trial differ from my normal care?
  • What treatment will I get if I don't take part in the trial?
  • What are the possible side effects of my treatment?
  • What extra tests or appointments will I have?

What does taking part involve?

Taking part doesn't always mean being prescribed new medication.  It can involve providing urine/blood samples, completing a questionnaire, or simply a researcher asking about your treatment and experiences.

It is important to recognise that clinical research does not always directly benefit the person participating.  However, researchers can gain knowledge of different conditions, which will help inform how to best treat patients in the future.

Potential burdens

  • If you do decide to participate in research, you may be asked to be involved in tasks that are additional to standard care. These could involve completing questionnaires, donating blood samples and tissues, taking medication or visiting a clinic for extra scans or examinations. 
  • When deciding whether a research study can be ethically approved, ethics committees evaluate if the study might present a potential burden to its participants, and whether that burden is considered acceptable in light of the benefits that could be gained from participation.
  • Whatever the level of involvement, participation in a research study is always voluntary and participants are able to withdraw from a study at any time, without giving a reason and without affecting your normal treatment.

Potential benefits

  • Research within the NHS does not result in financial gain for participating patients, although expenses such as travel costs to extra clinic visits related to research are reimbursed.
  • Gaining increased knowledge of a condition, which can give assurance to participants that they are fully informed from a reliable source.
  • Participation gives an opportunity to play a part in potentially improving the treatment of a condition for people in the future, providing patients with a degree of control over the disease affecting them. 
  • Read about some of the benefits that can result from participation in our patient case studies.

Confidentiality - how we use your information

If you register for a clinical trial, the research team will collect information as part of that particular trial. This information is held by the research team, and all your trial records and any information that is collected about you will be kept confidential, in the same way as your medical records.

If you're thinking of leaving a trial, you can do so at any time and do not have to give a reason. If you leave, you can have the standard treatment available for your condition, and your decision will not be held against you.

Read more about how we use your information, and donating tissue and samples.

Share your experience

Have you or a family member taken part in research?  Would you like to share your experience with others?  

We would be very interested to hear about your experience and would be grateful for your feedback.  If you would like to contribute a case study about being a participant in a clinical trial, contact us at research@uhbristol.nhs.uk or telephone 0117 34 20233.