By Prateek Buch, on 16 May 2013
We are backing a campaign run by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) called “It’s OK to ask,” which encourages patients to ask their doctor about clinical research.
Clinical research is a vital tool for gathering evidence, which we can use to develop better treatments. Our group focuses on therapies for sight loss, but the process of promoting, conducting and using clinical research to improve healthcare is crucial to the whole of the NHS and to medical science in general.
In many cases doctors will approach patients about taking part in research, but the Gene and Cell Therapy Group agrees with the NIHR that patients and carers should feel empowered to ask about clinical research too. It is crucial that as patients, we all feel confident to ask about the latest research into conditions that affect us or our friends and families, and about opportunities to participate in future studies.
Asking your doctor or healthcare professional about research will enable you as a patient to engage with progress in medicine by staying up-to-date with the latest findings and by helping to contribute to tomorrow’s advances.
That’s why during 2013/14 the NIHR is promoting the fact that it’s OK to ask about clinical research.
If you have a medical condition and are undergoing treatment, they would like you to ask your family doctor, nurse or consultant about clinical research, and whether it might be right for you.
Many of you already ask us about research into treatments for sight loss and we endeavour to provide as much information as we can about our work and how to engage with it through our website, this blog, and by directly answering your queries. In endorsing this NIHR drive for more patients to ask about research, we would like you to encourage others to do the same – there are many ways in which you can ask us about our research, including on Facebook, Twitter and by email.
You can also let the NIHR know if you do ask your doctor about research into any condition, and what happens when you do. You can find the NIHR’s campaign on Facebook, on Twitter using #NIHRoktoask, by email or by telephone (0300 311 99 66). You could even share your story about how you got in touch with the EyeTherapy group at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology!
We hope that through this campaign, which coincides with International Clinical Trials Day on May 20th, you feel encouraged to ask your doctor about clinical research – remember, “it’s OK to ask!”