Information for research volunteers

Research studies and clinical trials rely on volunteers. Every day, thousands of people take part in research trials in the NHS, public health and social care to discover new treatments, tests and ways of working. High-quality clinical research that benefits patients all around the world is not possible without your help. Some involve healthy members of the public, while others involve patients taking part in a trial during their care and treatment.

If you are a patient at MKUH, you may be invited to take part in a study or trial. It is entirely up to you whether or not you wish to get involved. If you decide not to participate, it will not affect your treatment in any way.

Taking part in a study might mean completing a questionnaire, an extra blood sample, taking a new medicine or trying a new treatment.

If you decide to take part in research, you are free to withdraw at any time, without giving a reason. You will continue to receive the best available care.

Patients are usually approached by a doctor or a nurse to take part in a study, but if you are interested in learning more please contact the R&D team by emailing [email protected] or call them on 01908 995 137.

What is involved?

Your involvement and the time required depend on what is being investigated. The research team will be able to provide you with details.

Being involved in any trial is physically demanding and time consuming and while our clinical trials are open to patients that meet the criteria from anywhere in the UK, the reality is that you may find it difficult to participate unless you are prepared to commit to frequent travel to MKUH.

Before you consider taking part in a trial, please see our frequently asked questions page. This has useful information and questions you may wish to ask the research team.

Be Part of Research will help you make informed choices about clinical trials. If offers useful guidance on how trials work and helps connect you to researchers running trials you might be interested in.

What are the benefits of taking part?

There is evidence that for some conditions, patients involved with clinical trials have better long term outcomes and may also get earlier access to new drugs.

Your health will be closely monitored throughout any clinical trial. Any changes in your health, whether or not they are related to the treatment you are having, are frequently picked up and acted upon earlier than if you were not in a trial. However, some people find that the extra attention makes them worry more about their condition.

If you take part in a research study you:

  • Will be helping others, and possibly yourself, by helping to identify more effective medical treatments
  • Will have more contact with medical staff than you normally do
  • Will have opportunities to learn more about your medical condition, which may help you to manage it better
  • May feel as though you are taking a more active role in your healthcare

Many of our patients who have taken part in research have found it a positive and rewarding process.

How are patients selected?

All trials have defined patient requirements, specific to each trial. They may, for example, require patients to have a specific genetic makeup or specific stage of disease. Once these initial requirements have been assessed, candidates will be required to have a set of tests to check suitability for a trial.

Where do I find out more about clinical trials and who is recruiting?

If you wish to find out more about other clinical trials (not just ones at MKUH) that may be suitable for you, please visit the Be Part of Research website. This website gives you a clear understanding of what is involved if you participate in a clinical trial and lets you sign up to be contacted if a suitable trial becomes available.

What do I do if I think I might be suitable for a clinical trial?

Some of the trials listed will have direct contact details or external websites with more information. You may also be able to talk to the research team directly.

However, for most patients and members of the public it is best to first talk to the doctor currently in charge of your care.