Taking part in a clinical trial or research study
As part of your care and treatment with us, we may have approached you about taking part in a clinical trial or research study. Here we will try and explain what this involves:
What are clinical trials?
Clinical trials are scientific research studies that examine different aspects of patient care including new methods of prevention, diagnosis or treatment. Some trials look at different ways of giving existing treatments, while others look at the effects that a particular treatment has on patients’ quality of life.
Why are clinical trials important?
Clinical trials contribute to our knowledge and understanding. Many of the everyday routine treatments we now use have come about from testing done in previous trials. They also help improve the standard of patient care we deliver, as the treatment offered comes from sound evidence from earlier trials.
How are new treatments developed and tested?
Each new treatment goes through strict testing before it is offered to patients as an established treatment. This involves laboratory tests and then testing with patients as a clinical trial. The whole process of testing can take years.
What does a trial involve?
Trials usually have guidelines as to who is eligible to take part. These guidelines help ensure the welfare of those taking part, and to work out who will be best suited to take part in a trial. If you are not selected, you will still continue to receive the best latest treatment available.
If you are selected, you will be able to talk to the doctors and the research team about the details of the trial – the kind of treatment you will receive, possible side effects, and what extra tests might come as part of the trial.
Once all of the details have been explained and you have asked the questions you want to ask, you will be given written information, so you can take it home, think it over, and talk to your family, friends and GP before making a decision. See our Introduction to Medical Research & Clinical Trials for more information.
Remember, it is entirely your own decision. You are under no obligation.
If you agree to take part, you will be asked to sign a form saying you understand that you are agreeing to take part in a clinical trial. This is called informed consent. This form is for your protection. It will clearly state that you are allowed to leave the trial at any time if you want to, and you don’t have to give a reason. There will be the name of a contact person if you have any problems, and your GP may also be told that you are taking part in a trial.