It's OK to ask

South Tees is one of many organisations around the country that are supporting “It’s OK to ask” – a campaign led by the National Institute for Health Research to encourage patients to ask their family doctor, nurse or consultant about clinical research.

Clinical research is the way in which we gather evidence to improve treatments for patients. Promoting, conducting and using clinical research to improve healthcare is one of the key principles of the NHS, and the new Constitution for NHS England contains a pledge to inform patients of research studies in which they may be eligible to participate.

In many cases doctors will approach patients and carers about taking part research, but the NIHR also wants patients to feel empowered to ask about it, to keep research at the top of the NHS England agenda.

In a recent consumer poll, less than 21% of patients and the public said that they would feel confident asking their doctor about research opportunities – a low number.

That’s why the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), with our support, is promoting the fact that it’s OK to ask about clinical research.

OK to ask

If you have a medical condition and are undergoing treatment, you can join the campaign by asking your doctor, nurse or consultant about clinical research, and whether it might be right for you or someone you care for.

The NIHR would then like you to let them know that you took part by logging that you asked about research, along with what response you received and any other comments you want to make, on their campaign social media sites, or by email or phone.

By measuring your responses to the “OK to ask” campaign the NIHR will be able to let clinicians know that patients are interested in research. It will also help them to see where the response to patients who want to take part in research could be improved.

If you ask your doctor about clinical research, please support the campaign by telling the NIHR what happened in one of the following ways: