Clinical trials are a type of study that involve large numbers of people in order to test new treatments. Many, but not all studies are clinical trials. If you would like more information, take a look at our various publications.
To take part in a clinical trial that may interest you, you can visit the UK Clinical Trials Gateway. The UK Clinical Trials Gateway provides easy to understand information about clinical research trials running in the UK, and gives you and others access to a large range of information about these trials.
If you are interested in becoming a participant in research:
- You could ask your GP or Consultant to consider any trials or other well designed studies that you may be suitable for (eligible)
- You could also try using the links to the right to search some of the registers/databases of ongoing research in the UK.
The NHS Constitution says that your NHS health practitioner should inform you of any studies for which you may be eligible. ‘Eligible’ here concerns how you fit the stringent medical and personal criteria used in the study design for it to work scientifically. The Understanding Clinical Trials leaflet tells you more about this.
Clinical studies aim to find out important information in response to a health question in a very methodical way. A well designed study will provide reliable evidence that can help improve NHS services and treatments and the medical understanding of health professionals.
To be reliable it usually involves obtaining health data from a wide range of people whose health issues fit the topic of the study. Where patients agree to participate as volunteers (‘consent’), this data might be obtained by interviews or questionnaires, by tests on patients in a clinical setting, measuring the effects of new drugs or perhaps using patient records, or possibly a combination of these, depending on the study.
Healthtalkonline is an excellent website where you can view videos of real patients talking about their experience of participating or being invited to participate in clinical studies.