Information for Patients and Public

What is a research study?

Clinical Research aims to find out important information in response to a health question. To be reliable it involves obtaining health data from a wide range of people.

These people agree to participate as volunteers because their health issues or experiences fit the topic of the study and the criteria set.

There are various ways that you can help, including:

Why is research needed?

Everyone involved in the NHS today benefits from research that has already taken place, and will continue to benefit from research being carried out now and in the future.

Health professionals know a lot about health, disease and medicines, but there is always more to learn.  Research provides answers by filling gaps in current knowledge. This can lead to changes in the way health professionals work.

Information can be obtained from interviews or questionnaires; from patient test results, measuring the effects of a new drug, from existing patient records or a combination of these. All research is conducted in accordance with confidentiality and data protection guidelines and will not affect the standard of care you receive.

The overall aim is to improve treatment and care.  Get involved if you are a patient, a carer or member of the public with an interest in improving treatment and care for the whole population. Lots of people do – this is what a few have said:

“Research changed my life because…I now understand that as well research for the future, research is now, and it helps real people like me to have real lives” (James, Diabetic)

“Research changed my life because…it helped me to realise that my experiences could benefit others.” (Rob, Bipolar disorder sufferer)

“Research changed my life because… it’s given a whole new dimension to my life; I feel like a person again” (Caroline, carer). 

How can you help with the design and development of research?

We are looking for patients and members of the public who would like to be involved in the design and development of research studies.  We are building a mailing list of patients and members of the public who are willing to help researchers to design studies that people will want to participate in and to help promote research in Somerset.  Although the role is voluntary, assistance can be given with travel expenses etc. 

If you are interested in helping us with research please contact the Research and Development team on or telephone 01278 432039.  Or you can download our 'Taking Part in Research' form to complete and send back to us by clicking here. (To view an easy read version you can click here.)

UK Clinical Trials Gateway 

The NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) provides a UK Clinical Trials Gateway where you can: