Centre for Health Research and Innovation
We’re leading improvements in healthcare through research and innovation.
Although there has been huge progress in the development of new treatments and medicines, there is still a lot that we do not know. Research can answer questions, filling in the gaps in knowledge and changing the way doctors and health professionals look after their patients. This means improved treatment and care for you and your family.
Clinical research provides the only reliable evidence for safe, effective healthcare. Without patient and public volunteers that evidence can’t be gained and new treatments cannot be provided.
A clinical trial is a particular type of research that tests one treatment against another. They are often carried out on large numbers of people before the results are considered reliable.
Doctors, health professionals and patients need evidence from clinical trials to know which treatments work best. Without research evidence, there is a risk that people could be given treatments that have no benefit, that waste NHS resources and that might even be harmful.
Therefore, clinical trials find out:
- if treatments are safe
- if treatments have any side effects
- if new treatments are better than current standard treatments
Trials go through robust checks before they can begin from National Ethics Committees and other regulatory authorities, as well as from within the hospital.
Trials are being undertaken every day within the NHS and are often managed by hospital doctors and health professionals that may be looking after you.
A wide variety of different patients take part in our research studies. This may include male and female, young and old, all ethnic groups and patients with a variety of medical conditions. However, each study looks at something very specific; they will strict eligibility rules for who is suitable to take part. However, if you are interested in taking part in a clinical trial you can speak to your doctor to see if there are any studies that you may be eligible for.
The simple answer is no. Taking part in research is entirely voluntary. You may be approached by your doctor or nurse and invited to take part. You will be provided with an information sheet and have time to think about the study and ask any questions you wish. If you decide not to take part in a clinical trial your NHS treatment will not be effected and you will continue to be looked after like any other patient. And if you do decide to take part, but change your mind, you can leave the study at any time.
Clinical trials assess treatments, technologies or approaches, whilst other research studies aim to understand health and specific conditions better through testing of new approaches, monitoring or observation. All drugs, including the ones we routinely prescribe to patients, may have side effects. In clinical trials potential risks are carefully balanced against the benefits. Trials are designed to keep risks to a minimum and patients are closely monitored
The reasons people take part in a study vary. Taking part in research is perceived by some people as ‘giving something back’ to benefit others in the future. Other people feel that they personally benefit from the treatment and drugs provided and are reassured by the close medical monitoring and check-ups provided by the researchers.
Every study is different as all research is planned to investigate something specific, meaning the duration of the trial and the investigations required, (e.g. blood sampling, ECG, x-rays) will vary. Therefore it is difficult to say specifically. However, bear in mind that all research is carefully planned and you will be provided with more detailed information if you participate in a study.
All NHS organisations (including Health & Social Care in Northern Ireland) are expected to participate and support health and care research. The Health Research Authority set standards for NHS organisations to make sure they protect your privacy and comply with the law when they are involved in research. For further information about how your information may be used can be found here.
If you are considering taking part in research we would encourage you to contact your doctor, health professional or research nurse for further information.
There are also various websites you may like to visit, see the links page:
Here you can read, watch videos and listen to audio clips about the experiences of people who have already taken part in research.
National Institute for Health Research – where you can find out more about research in the NHS.
Here you can find much more information about research and clinical trials as well as links to useful resources.
Here you can search for different studies running in the NHS.
With research embedded into the fabric and work of the trust, patients can be confident of the same excellent standards of care and safety they expect across our services.
Before it begins, all research involving NHS staff, facilities, service users, patients, their carers or relatives will always have been approved by an independent research ethics committee and will have been reviewed by the trust to ensure that it is safe and appropriate to conduct the research here at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.