Public and Patient Research

Health & Social Care aims to provide the best possible care for its patients and research enables us to decide what methods of care are best.  All treatments have at some time been the subject of research.  In our modern health service each potential new treatment, diagnostic aid, or service development is tested before its widespread adoption.  Every year thousands of people agree to become participants in research studies, contributing to these advances in health care. 

The results from research carried out are often of national and international importance and are published in medical and nursing journals.  Whilst under our care you may be invited to participate in a research study.  For example, when undergoing a routine procedure you may be asked to provide extra tissue or blood samples for use in research.  Alternatively, you may be asked to take part in a study that compares one treatment with another to see what is most effective, or you may be asked to complete a questionnaire about your illness or your opinion on how care should be provided. 

Members of the public who act as partners in the research process can bring a fresh perspective to it.  In some instances members of the public have identified areas of research that have not been considered by those ‘inside’ the research process and have also identified and prioritised issues that are of importance to those for whose benefit the research project is aimed.  For example, service users may have a different view of what outcomes are more importance to them than a research professional designing a project. 

More information can be found on the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) website

Participating in research:

Patients, clients or staff in the Western Trust may be asked to take part in research.  Participation in research requires you to assist the Researcher with the project.  This may involve any or all of the following:

  • Providing details of your personal experience
  • Providing samples such as blood
  • Providing information

Health and Social Care Staff that wish to undertake research may approach you.  It may be your doctor, nurse or any other member of staff or a student from your local university.

They will explain to you what the research involves and provide you with written information on the research.  You will be given time to think about the information and given the opportunity to ask any questions regarding the research.  You may decline if you wish.

If you decide to take part in the research you will be asked to sign a consent form which means you are happy to take part in the research.  The research should have been approved by a Research Ethics Committee and the Western Trust Research Governance Committee.  If you are in doubt ask the Researcher about this or contact the Research and Development Office

Your involvement in research may generate considerable knowledge regarding your illness or medical condition and result in developments and improvements in care. 

What if I change my mind once the research starts?

If for any reason you decide you do not want to be involved in the research anymore, you can withdraw your involvement at any time.  Your health care treatment will not be affected and you can volunteer to take part in future research. 

Can I be identified?

The Researcher undertaking the research is bound by a strict code of conduct where the dignity, rights, safety and wellbeing of each participants their prime consideration.  The appropriate use, protection and confidentiality of personal information are part of the Researcher’s duty of care to you under the Data Protection Act 1998 and Health Act 1999.

Research may be anonymous, meaning you are not known by the Researcher, for example, postal responses.  In such cases the Researcher will identify you by a given number and your personal details will remain confidential.  At other times you will be known by the Researcher, for example, taking part in an interview. 

Help available:

If you would like more information on research, have any concerns or would like to give feedback on a project you have participated in, please contact the Research and Development Office.

Other useful websites: