Information for health and care professionals

Talk to your patients about research

The NHS Constitution includes a pledge that everyone has the right to be informed of research studies they are eligible to take part in.

This site has been designed to help raise awareness of research opportunities for you and your patients. You can use it to find suitable research studies or you can empower your patients to explore opportunities in their own time.

Only through research can we find ways to improve prevention, diagnosis, care and treatments. Research can also help people living with a condition to have a better quality of life.

Start the conversation

Our annual Patient Research Experience Survey tells us that 87% of participants on average, on NIHR supported studies, had a positive experience of taking part in research. Here are some of the common barriers that might prevent people from taking part.

  • Fear - There are different types of research, every study is different. For example, some studies test new treatments or therapies. Others may involve interviews or surveys. 
  • Time - not all studies take up the same amount of time. Some studies are only short, whilst others take longer.
  • Travel - not all studies involve travelling to a hospital or site.  Some studies can be done at home.

Maria Catton took part in the ALPHA trial, a study recruiting patients with severe hand eczema. In this short clip she encourages GP's to have a conversation that inspires confidence that it's worthwhile to take part in research.

Eligibility and information

The research team will tell any participants what the study involves before the participant agrees to take part.  Participants can choose whether or not to take part in a study and can opt out at any time.   

Sharing study details with your patients

Once you've found a study that's relevant, use the download button on the top right hand side to access a print-friendly version or you can email it to them directly from here. 

In the full study details, you can find information such as who to contact, the exclusion/inclusion criteria, where the study is taking place and specific dates.  This will help decide whether they're suitable to take part. 

Important questions for patients to ask

Anyone wishing to participate in research will need to know some important information before making an informed decision. The questions located on our taking part page are a helpful start.  

Further reading 

Other pages on our site will help inform participants about what happens on a study and why take part.

Concerns about confidentiality and handling patient data

Understanding Patient Data is a website that explains how health data is used. It explains how and why data can be used for care and research, what’s allowed and what’s not, and how personal information is kept safe.

On the homepage an animation follows the journeys of a patients with cancer, dementia, asthma, diabetes and a heart attack. The animations show all the ways in which the data the studies collect is used to improve care.

Other ways to take part

Not everyone can participate in a study but there are many other ways to help or shape research.

Next steps

    1. Find a study - search by keyword, condition, medicine or location.
    2. A-Z of conditions - use this list to browse studies on our site, grouped by the condition name
    3. Learn about research career development with the NIHR