Research FAQs

This page gives you answers to our most frequently asked questions about research studies and trials.

Frequently asked questions

  • Is taking part in research safe?

    When a study is designed every effort is made to reduce any risk to patients. Before any clinical research can start, it is subject to thorough review from all applicable regulatory authorities and the NHS.

    In the study of new treatments and investigations, the researchers may be aware of some side effects, but there is also the possibility of unknown side effects. It is important to bear in mind that all treatments and investigations could potentially cause side effects.

    We will carefully monitor your health during the study, and you should tell us about any illnesses or changes in your body that you notice.

  • What does taking part in research involve?

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

  • Will I get paid?

    This depends on the study. The research team should be able to provide you with details.

  • Who will see information about me?

    If you take part in a study, staff other than your doctors may need access to your medical records. Everyone who sees your records has to follow the hospital’s confidentiality guidelines.

    It will be explained to you by the study team how your personal information will be used and shared for the study you are involved in. Any sharing of information will be in accordance with data protection law.

  • Will I be able to find out the research results?

    The researcher should tell you when the research is complete and the results are publicly available. We encourage our researchers to create a summary of results for participants – ask your research team about this if you are interested.

  • Who approves the study?

    All our studies are reviewed and approved by the appropriate and applicable regulatory authorities. Research in the NHS is approved by the NHS Research Ethics Committee and the Health Research Authority, drug trials are usually approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA). Each NHS Trust has a research and development (R&D) department whose role it is to make sure all the correct approvals are in place. Anyone doing research within the NHS must have a letter of approval from their R&D department.

  • Do I have to decide to take part straight away?

    Very rarely will you need to decide to take part straight away. It is better to take the time to evaluate the benefits and risks of participating in the study before you decide. The researchers will clearly explain these benefits and risks and will be available to discuss any queries you may have.

Download our leaflet

Taking part in medical research (PDF 696Kb)