Take part in research studies

Improvements in the care provided by the NHS are frequently based on the outcome of research studies. The UK, and particularly UCLH, have a proud history of having delivered groundbreaking discoveries which have improved the care given by the NHS and other healthcare systems around the world.

If you would like to take part in a research study at UCLH, you can:

  • ask your doctor or nurse about research you could take part in.
  • search the ‘Find a Study’ database. The database provides details of every clinical trial currently recruiting at UCLH. Patients and the public can search the database of trials by disease area and the age of patients being recruited.
  • Join the NIHR BioResource @UCLH. In doing so you become part of a club of nearly 300,000 people in England who contribute to improvements in NHS care by participating in research. . Participating in the BioResource involves giving a blood or saliva sample, to extract information about DNA, which, together with demographic and health information can be used in medical research. This information is used to enable participants to be matched with studies they are eligible for. Participation involves agreeing to be approached to participate in future medical research. If you are invited to participate in a recall study you will stay in control by deciding whether you join a future study or not.
  • Register your interest in 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. 

Should I volunteer to take part in research?

Many thousands 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 tests 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.