Take part in a trial
At NUH we run hundreds of clinical trials every year. We are only able to do this because our patients, carers and families volunteer to take part in and support our research.
How to take part in a trial at NUH
Our aim is to offer every patient the opportunity to take part in clinical research at our hospitals. Here's how you can take part:
Ask your clinical team about research. You can ask the team caring for you about research taking place at NUH which you may be able to take part in.
Please check with your Research Team about how COVID-19 may be impacting on research studies that you are taking part in.
Live trials at NUH
You can find the latest news about new trials opening to patients in our hospitals on the Live Trials pages of this website.
We continue to research effective treatments, vaccines and therapies for COVID-19. Your can find more details details on our COVID-19 trials page.
Long Covid research
Our research is also looking at the longer-term effects for patients who are recovering, but still expriencing symptoms which are impacting on their lives. You can find details on our Long Covid trials page.
What it means to take part in a research trial
Below you'll find useful information about what is involved in taking part in a research trial and how we will involve you.
Who can take part in a clinical trial?
It depends on the trial. Some trials (usually Phase 2 or 3 trials) use only people with certain diseases or conditions, or whose family members have certain diseases or conditions. Other trials can use people who are healthy.
Not everyone who wants to be in a trial can be in one. To be in a trial, you need to meet certain conditions. Often, you need to have the disease or problem being studied. Other conditions usually have to do with the health of your heart, liver, kidneys, or other organs. To see if you meet the conditions needed for the research, you might need to answer questions or undergo a medical examination or tests like blood tests.
If you are a patient at NUH, you will usually be asked by the doctors or nurses treating you if you would be willing to take part in current research happening in our hospitals. You are free to say yes or no, and your treatment and care will not be affected by what you decide.
What are the benefits of taking part in a clinical trial?
People can benefit from taking part in clinical research trials in different ways:
- Help to advance scientific and clinical knowledge about our health and wellbeing
- the chance to test a new treatment at an early stage
- work with research experts in your disease
- have your progress regularly monitored
- help people who will have your disease in the future, by supporting the development of new and more effective treatments, therapies or medicines
- learn about your health and about clinical research in general
Before deciding whether taking part in a clinical research trial is right for you, you should consider all of the information available to you from the research teams. They will explain how the trial will work, any risks or side-effects that you may experience and also the benefits of the treatments being tested. They will also explain any downsides to taking part, for example that the new treatment they are testing could be less effective than the treatment you are already receiving.
Please be aware that:
- You might not get the new treatment – our research will compare a new treatment with the "usual" treatment for a disease. Other studies compare a new treatment with a "placebo". A placebo is a treatment that looks the same as medicine and is given the same way, but doesn't have any medicine in it. A placebo is used only if doctors aren't sure that the usual treatment helps or if there isn't any good treatment for that disease or condition.
- In studies that compare two treatments, half of the people get the new treatment, and the other half get the usual treatment or placebo. Neither you nor your researchers can choose which treatment you get. Also, in many cases, you won't know which treatment you got until the trial is over.
If you decide to take part in a trial, you will need to give your written consent.
The most important step to taking part in clinical research, is your permission (consent).
Make sure you're happy with the trial and have been given all of the information you need before you give your consent (permission). This may mean taking some time to think about it and to talk it over with family or friends.
If you decide to take part, you'll be asked to sign a document to say you're agreeing to take part in the trial and have understood what it involves. This is called giving your informed consent.
Giving consent for others
For people under the age of 18, a parent or guardian has to give informed consent.
As a relative we may ask you to give consent on behalf of the patient if they are not well enough to make a decision. In this case we ask you to think about what the patient would prefer. You will be asked to sign a relative’s consent form if you decide to go ahead.
In an emergency
In an emergency a decision may be needed urgently because of your medical condition. If the doctor thinks you may benefit from being in the trial, they can include you using something called a waiver of consent. This means that temporarily, the doctor makes the decision about you. Before this is done every effort will be made to contact your relatives.
Using your data in our research
Using your data
Protecting your information
Our research is only possible because of the patients, families and carers who agree to use their data as part of our research. At every stage of our research, we are committed to protecting your privacy, confidentiality and dignity. That includes using your data responsibly.
Our researchers are specially trained, qualified and authorised to work with your data. We handle and store data in the most secure ways possible. We will only use your data with the proper approvals, following independent review of how we plan to use the data for research and with full security of your data in place. We will only use your data to improve health and care.
The video above summarises how the NHS uses data to save lives and improve treatment and care; we are grateful to the Understanding Patient Data initiative for these resources. You will find more information and resources on the Understanding Patient Data website.
Our commitment to you
At NUH we make the following commitments about the data we keep about you and the way that we protect it. We will:
- Keep the right information to provide services and fulfil our legal responsibilities to you
- Keep your records safe, secure and accurate
- Only keep your information as long as necessary
- Collect, store and use the information you provide to the data protection standards and the laws that govern data protection
Excellence in data analytics
We are working with our partners in the University of Nottingham to develop the skills and capabilities to analyse extremely large amounts of data for research.
Our experts check all trials – before and during them – to make sure that they are safe. Our research is also accredited by the relevant national regulatory or sponsoring organisation to ensure that we consistently meet all of the standards required to carry out clinical research in the UK. If there are signs that the treatment in a trial could be unsafe, the research team or the regulators will stop the trial.
During the trial, you will need to follow all of the instructions about visits, tests, and treatments. This may be over a period of days, weeks or months. If you experience any problems, issues or side-effects, you should contact your research doctor or nurse.
You may decide to stop taking part in a trial if your condition is getting worse or if you feel the treatment isn't helping you. You can also choose to leave at any point without giving a reason and without it affecting the care you receive.
Learn more about clinical trials
A clinical trial is a research study that uses people to find new ways to improve healthcare.
At NUH we do every type of research:
- translation of scientific discoveries into medicines and technology that can be tested in clinical trials
- experimental medicine research testing new treatments and vaccines for the first time and
- large-scale trials involving hundreds or thousands of people.
The Research Hub
You can find lots of information about clinical research, what it means and how it happens in Nottingham on the Research Hub.
The Research Hub is a website dedicated to involving local people in everything about clinical research in Nottingham.