Frequently Asked Questions

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Health research could not happen without patients and healthy volunteers who generously give up their time to take part in research. Each year, we support and care for thousands of volunteers to who help to find better ways to treat, prevent, diagnose and understand human disease.

People participate in trials and studies for a variety of reasons. Healthy volunteers might participate to help others. Participants with an illness or disease also take part to help others, but also to have the opportunity to receive the newest treatment and to have the additional care and attention from clinical staff.

Trials and studies offer hope for many people and an opportunity to help researchers find better treatments for others. In many cases, the research will not help you personally, but it may provide vital information that will help people in the future.

All clinical research trials and studies are designed and carried out differently depending on what is being researched. This means what is involved for participants can also vary.

Some trials and studies involve regular tests, appointments and observations to test a current or new treatment, whilst others might involve completing questionnaires.
Before taking part in a trial or study make sure you understand its purpose, what is involved and any risks or benefits.

For more information, visit Take part in research pages.

All clinical research trials and studies are designed and carried out differently depending on what is being researched. This means potential risks to participants can also vary.

All treatments are thoroughly tested in laboratory trials before they are tested with groups of participants and, when trials and studies are designed, every effort is made to eliminate any risk to participants. Any known risks will be explained when you sign up.
The research team, doctors and nurses responsible for the research will monitor participants closely to detect any side effects. If there are changes, medical staff will act immediately.

In general, risks can include:

  • not being able to choose which treatment you get
  • the new treatment may not work for you
  • more severe side effects than current treatments

Yes, you can change your mind at any time. Taking part in a clinical research trial or study is voluntary and up to each individual. You may choose not to take part or you may leave at any time.

Choosing not to take part or leaving the study will not result in any penalty and your decision will not affect the care you receive.

If you decide to change your mind after signing up, your information (including any samples already taken) may still be used as planned. If you do not wish for this to happen, speak with the trial or study team to see if it is possible for your information to be withdrawn.

Some clinical research trials and studies offer payment or expenses (including for travel), which can vary depending on what is involved. You will be told about any payments before you sign up.

It is important to find out about the risks and other commitments (such as the number of appointments and travelling distance) before you sign up, and see if you can commit the time

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