Should I volunteer to take part in a research trial?

Many hundreds of people a year in the UK choose to take part in research. Some people choose to because they want to give something back and some want to help prevent and treat diseases in the future. Some do it so they can have access to new treatments.

If you are thinking about taking part in research, it’s important to remember:

  • all research studies have a strict definition of which patients can take part. So even if you have the relevant disease, you may not be eligible.
  • you won’t necessarily get a new better treatment. Bear in mind that the study is being carried out to find if the new treatment is better than what is currently available. It may be the same or it may be worse.
  • However, some trials may monitor your condition more regularly than with standard care - ask a doctor or nurse what kind of monitoring is involved.

Before you agree to take part in a trial staff will explain to you the risks and benefits of getting involved and what is involved, for example how often you need to come to hospital and what test you will need to undergo. You will also be given an information sheet to take away and read in your own time.

If you decide not to take part in research, your care will not be affected. You can choose to withdraw from a trial and,  if you do, you will still receive the best treatment available.

If you want to take part in a research trial:

Click here to visit the HRA website to find out more about the use of Patient information in health and care research.

Ask your doctor or nurse about research you could take part in or...

Search Find a study

Find a Study was launched in May 2019, and developers are now in the process of making it more accessible for both clinicians and patients.

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Sign up to UCL Bioresource

Sign up to the UCLBioResource. Volunteers to the BioResource agree to be approached to participate in future medical research. Volunteers give blood and saliva samples to give information about their DNA, which, together with demographic and health information, enables us to match them up with trials they are eligible for.

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Sign up to Dementia research

People with dementia, their carers and anyone interested in participating in dementia research can register online, by post or over the phone to Join Dementia Research. It is also possible to sign up on behalf of a loved one, who may find it difficult to register themselves or manage their own account.

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Research and the Covid-19 pandemic

When the Covid-19 pandemic started, UCLH paused all trials unless they were related to Covid-19, or where treatment involved was essential for serious or life-threatening conditions.

With rates of infection and pressure on the NHS reduced as of Spring 2021, we have now restarted a large proportion of our trials, after a rigorous review for each trial looking at:

  • whether the different departments, such as imaging and pharmacy, have the capacity to support the trial
  • whether patients need any visits to the hospital which are not for standard patient care
  • whether they are compatible with UCLH-wide safety measures – as outlined on our web pages with information for patients and visitors.

This review is carried out by clinicians, managers and support services and includes patients on the panel.

Is it safe to come in to the hospital?

UCLH has a number of measures in place to keep all patients and staff safe, including social distancing, one way systems and hand hygiene measures.

For the safety of all patients and staff, anyone coming to the hospital needs to wear a face covering (except where not possible for physical or mental health reasons).

Researchers will only ask you to come into the hospital if it is necessary to the requirements of the study, such as for scans or blood tests.

Read the full UCLH advice on coming to the hospital.

Our clinical research facility

UCLH has a dedicated clinical research facility which is a purpose-built environment for patients and volunteers taking part in early-phase clinical trials and other research projects. To find out more click here

Get involved in research design

UCLH is keen for patients and the public to help design and conduct research to help make our research better. Read more