Information for health and care professionals

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.

Talk to your patients about research

Our annual Patient Research Experience Survey tells us that 95% 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 GPs to have a conversation that inspires confidence and to explain why it's worthwhile to take part in research. Read the video transcript for 'Advice for GPs on encouraging people to take part in research'.

Find a suitable study 

To find out which studies are recruiting, use our study search tool, where you can filter by keyword, condition, medicine, age or location.

Our A-Z list of conditions makes it easy for you to search for a research study relating to a specific condition.

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. Our questions to ask the study team page is a helpful start.

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.

Further reading 

Other pages on our site will help inform your patients about what to expect on a study and why taking part matters.

On our myths about research page, we correct some common misconceptions about health and care research.

Other ways to take part

Register and get matched to suitable studies

Be Part of Research provides a UK-wide research registry for all health and social care specialties.

Your patients can sign up online and select the health conditions they are interested in. They will be sent suitable studies and can decide if they want to take part.  

Supporting research without taking part in a study

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