'It's OK to Ask' 

19/05/2013 00:00 

UCLH Cancer Clinical Trials Unit is one of many groups around the country supporting ‘It’s OK to ask’ – a new campaign which aims to empower patients and encourage engagement in clinical research.

'It's OK to Ask'

UCLH Cancer Clinical Trials Unit on the steps of University College Hospital

‘It’s OK to ask’ is led by the National Institute for Health Research and launches on International Clinical Trials Day (20 May) which commemorates the anniversary of the very first clinical trial by James Lind.

The date offers an opportunity for those working in the research field to take action to raise the profile of clinical research in the NHS. To mark the occasion UCLH is hosting the following events:

  • The NIHR Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at UCLH is opening its doors to the public all day on 20 May.
  • UCLH has also joined forces with Macmillan Cancer Support to develop and run a workshop for the public on Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in research and its impact on trial recruitment.
  • The UCLH Cancer Clinical Trials Unit will be running a stall in the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre. The stall will aim to provide accessible information for visitors on what clinical trials are and how they can find out more about studies that might be relevant to them.

At present, patients are often unaware of clinical research opportunities unless they are asked to take part by a clinician. In a recent poll, less than 21% of patients and the public said that they would feel confident asking their doctor about research opportunities – a low number.

Whilst the clinician-initiated approach to recruitment has been very successful, the NIHR argues that encouraging patients to start conversations about research could have a positive impact on the speed of recruitment to studies and the general research culture across healthcare providers, which would be beneficial to researchers.

Promoting, conducting and using clinical research to improve healthcare is one of the key principles of the NHS, and the new Constitution for NHS England contains a pledge to inform patients of research studies in which they may be eligible to participate.

The NIHR is requesting patients support the campaign by sharing their experiences of asking about clinical research via social media, email or telephone. By measuring responses to the ‘OK to ask’ campaign the NIHR will be able to let clinicians know that patients are interested in research.

Experiences can be shared by telling the NIHR what happened in one of the following ways:

On Facebook at www.facebook.com/NIHRoktoask
On Twitter: @OfficialNIHR using #NIHRoktoask
By email to oktoask@nihr.ac.uk
By telephone 0300 311 99 66

Further information on the OK to ask campaign can be found online at www.crncc.nihr.ac.uk/oktoask



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