Joining a trial
People can join trials in various ways.
Often this will depend on the type of trial it is.
Some people may actively look for trials to join themselves.
Others might be contacted by their GP or approached in hospital by their consultant or other staff involved in their care.
They might even be contacted directly by a research doctor or research nurse.
Participation in a trial is purely voluntary.
You are free not to take part or to withdraw at any time, without giving a reason.
Deciding not to take part in a trial, or withdrawing later on, will not affect the care you receive from the NHS.
If you are selected as a possible participant in a trial, you will be given the opportunity to ask any questions you have.
You will also be given a Patient Information Sheet about the trial that you can take away with you to read at your convenience.
You need to be satisfied that you have enough information to give your informed consent to participate.
Anyone taking part in a trial must fully understand the objectives of the research, and any risks and potential inconveniences they may experience when taking part.
Informed consent is the process by which a person voluntarily confirms their willingness to participate in a particular trial, after having been informed about all aspects of the trial that are relevant to their decision to participate.
This is documented in a signed and dated informed consent form.
What to expect if you participate in a trial
If you decide to participate in a clinical trial you will be monitored carefully during and after your treatment.
You will have regular tests and may be asked some questions about your experience and how you are feeling.
It is important to note that participation in a clinical trial may require you to visit hospital more often than you normally would.
Whilst some trials will cover your expenses for things like travel to hospital appointments, others will not.
You should consider how convenient this will be for you before making a decision whether to participate or not.
Only members of the research team and your GP will know if you participate in a clinical trial.
Any information collected about you during the course of a trial will be strictly confidential and will be kept in accordance with the Data Protection Act (1998).
The results of a particular trial may be published in a scientific journal and presented at scientific meetings.
However, you will not be identified in any publication of the trial results.
For more details on getting involved in NHS research as a patient, please visit the INVOLVE website.
INVOLVE is part of the National Institute for Health Research and supports active public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research.