Welsh Government

Frequently asked questions about research

Research is a routine part of treatment and care in NHS Wales. In this section you can find out more about why it's important, what the benefits are and what is involved for people who take part. Click on the links below.

Why does research matter?

Why take part in research?

What does taking part in research involve?

Do I have to take part in research?

Where do research studies take place?

How can I find out more or take part in a research study?

 


Why does research matter?

From paracetamol and chemotherapy, to treatments for depression and diabetes; without research, many of the treatments and types of care that we receive today wouldn’t be available.

Members of the public have an essential role to play, since without people agreeing to take part in research studies these improved treatments and care wouldn’t exist.

Health and social care research aims to find out more about:

  • health issues (including causes of ill health and effects of treatments); and
  • social care issues (including support needs for people).

Watch this short video about mental health research at the National Centre for Mental Health:

  

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Why take part in research?

Without members of the public taking part in research, we can’t make improvements to treatments and care.

By taking part in a research study, you could benefit future generations and play a really important role in medical progress.

Patients taking part in research receive high-quality monitoring and care, and they sometimes receive new drugs and treatments only available through the research study. 

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What does taking part in research involve?

There are many different ways of taking part in research and sometimes it only takes a few minutes of your time.

You may be asked to:

  • answer questionnaires;
  • give researchers permission to look at your medical notes;
  • receive a new treatment; or
  • give a blood sample.

If you'd like to find out more about taking part in a clinical trial (a type of research study), you may find the following video produced by NHS Choices useful:

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Do I have to take part in research?

No. It is always your choice whether you take part in a research study or not. If you decide not to take part, it will not affect any treatments or care you are already receiving.

Even if you agree to take part in a research study, you can change your mind at any time. 

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Where do research studies take place?

Research studies routinely take place in a variety of NHS and social care settings including GP surgeries, hospitals, and care homes. Studies can even take place online.

Research is a routine part of care in the NHS and if there is a suitable study available, you will be given the opportunity to think about taking part.

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How can I find out more or take part in a research study?

Your first step is to speak to your doctor, consultant or nurse. Find out more on our ‘Take part in a research study’ page.

You may also want to join HealthWise Wales, a major new study that people living in Wales can take part in.

There are also some great online resources for the public:

Health Research Authority
Descriptions of different types of health research

Cancer Research UK
Video describing a specific type of research study called a ‘Clinical Trial’

 

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