During the CLAHRC event “Making it Real – Patients and public improving healthcare research”,Leicester, one of the sessions I attended was delivered by a patient who had extensive involvement within various clinical trials over the past few years. He was a great example of how health research, once recognised as an invaluable part of the improvement of treatment pathways for illnesses, can attract a greater number of patient participants. For him the trials were not separate from his current clinical treatment, but instead were directly related to revealing ways of making that treatment better. Barriers he observed to research participation included poor advertising and the scientific terminology used to describe the research aims, objectives and patient requirements . These were two of many observations flagged up as impeding access to trial information for patients. Present in the audience were health researchers and healthcare professionals involved in research and so one would hope that hearing the comments on potential improvements from a participant’s point of view may influence their methods of recruitment in future.
Patient involvement in research is ever-increasing, further embedding itself into standard research practice here in the UK which is great to see. The UK Clinical Trials Gateway and the national advisory group INVOLVE are among those that provide resources and information that help to keep patient & public involvement high on the health research agenda. By involving the patients and the public, clinical research will hopefully continue to democratise, increasing the amount of accountability of the researchers by allowing transparency throughout the research process. Overall this will pave the way to better research practice on the one hand, and increase public awareness and confidence in research on the other. I think that striving to do so may be a good way of increasing patient involvement within clinical trials.