Public and patients

 

Clinical research helps us better understand human health and wellbeing so we can:

  • improve current treatments, medicines and care, and develop new and better ones

  • diagnose diseases and conditions earlier or more accurately

  • prevent people from developing diseases and conditions
     

Clinical research trials and studies are part of everyday work in the NHS and, you might not know it, but most care that patients receive in hospitals and GP practices is the result of research.

This includes experimental medicine trials, which look at the causes of disease, how treatments work and whether they are safe, and trials to test the effectiveness of new treatments to see if they are better than what is currently available.

Take a look at our FAQs on this page to find out more about clinical research in Southampton, including what it involves and how you can take part.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us by calling 023 8120 4989 or emailing UHS.SouthamptonCRF@nhs.net

Frequently asked questions

What is clinical research?


Clinical research helps us better understand human health and wellbeing so we can:

  • improve current treatments, medicines and care, and develop new and better ones
  • diagnose diseases and conditions earlier or more accurately
  • prevent people from developing diseases and conditions

Clinical research trials and studies are part of everyday work in the NHS and, you might not know it but, most care that patients receive in hospitals and GP practices is the result of research.

This includes experimental medicine trials, which look at the causes of disease, how treatments work and whether they are safe, and trials to test the effectiveness of new treatments to see if they are better than what is currently available.




Why should I take part?


Our research could not happen without patients and healthy volunteers and, each year, we work with thousands of volunteers to conduct research and uncover better ways to treat, prevent, diagnose and understand human disease.

People participate in trials and studies for a variety of reasons. Healthy volunteers might participate to help others and to contribute to moving science forward. Participants with an illness or disease also take part to help others, but also to possibly receive the newest treatment and to have the additional care and attention from clinical staff.

Trials and studies offer hope for many people and an opportunity to help researchers find better treatments for others. In many cases, the research will not help you personally, but it may provide vital information that will help people in the future.




What does taking part involve?


All clinical research trials and studies are designed and carried out differently depending on what is being researched. This means what is involved for participants can also vary.

Some trials and studies involve regular tests, appointments and observations to test a current or new treatment, whilst others might involve completing questionnaires.

Before taking part in a trial or study make sure you understand its purpose, what is involved and any risks or benefits.

For more information, visit the NHS clinical trials or the NIHR ‘be part of research' pages.




Why do you need healthy volunteers?


As well as patients, many of our clinical research trials and studies aim to involve ‘healthy volunteers’ – people who are interested in contributing towards research but are generally healthy or do not have the condition or disease being investigated.

Healthy volunteers help researchers better understand a variety of health conditions as their information can be compared with people who have a specific disease or condition.

In Southampton, we have a database of healthy volunteers and send information about trials and studies they might be able to take part in. If you would like to join this database please contact the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility (details below).

If you have any questions or would like more information, contact us by calling 023 8120 4989 or by emailing UHS.SouthamptonCRF@nhs.net




How do I find a trial or study to take part in?


You can ask your doctor or nurse if they know of any clinical trials or studies that you might be eligible to join. Or, patients and healthy volunteers can search for trials and studies here.




Are there any risks involved?


All clinical research trials and studies are designed and carried out differently depending on what is being researched. This means potential risks to participants can also vary.

Treatments are thoroughly tested in laboratory trials before they are tested with groups of participants and, when trials and studies are designed, every effort is made to eliminate any risk to participants. Any known risks will be explained when you sign up.

The research team, doctors and nurses responsible for the research will monitor participants closely to detect any side effects. If there are changes, medical staff will act immediately.

In general, risks can include:

  • not being able to choose which treatment you get
  • the new treatment may not work for you
  • more severe side effects than current treatments




Can I change my mind after signing up?


Taking part in a clinical research trial or study is voluntary and up to each individual. You may choose not to take part or you may leave at any time.

Choosing not to take part or leaving the study will not result in any penalty and your decision will not affect the care you receive.

If you decide to change your mind after signing up, your information (including any samples already taken) may still be used as planned. If you do not wish for this to happen, speak with the trial or study team to see if it is possible for your information to be withdrawn.




Do I get paid to take part in research?


Some clinical research trials and studies offer payment or expenses (including for travel), which can vary depending on what is involved. You will be told about any payments before you sign up.

It is important to find out about the risks and other commitments (such as the number of appointments and travelling distance) before you sign up, and to carefully weigh up whether it is worth it.




Who should I contact if I want to take part in research?


If you have found a clinical research trial or study that you would like to take part in, contact the team using the details provided.

Or, general enquiries can be made by contacting the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility by calling 023 8120 4989 or emailing UHS.SouthamptonCRF@nhs.net




What is Patient and Public Involvement in clinical research?


Patient and Public Involvement (known as PPI) is defined as ‘clinical research carried out with or by members of the public, rather than about or for them’. This includes:

  • working with research funders to prioritise research
  • offering advice as members of a project steering group
  • commenting on and developing research materials
  • undertaking interviews with research participants

See the ‘help shape our research’ section of our website for more information, and how you can get involved with Southampton’s PPI activities, or visit the NIHR Involve website to read more about public involvement with clinical research in the NHS.