Welsh Government

Gaining ethical approval

The Health and Care Research Wales Ethics Service provides independent advice and support on the extent to which proposals for research comply with ethical standards. 

Seven Research Ethics Committees across Wales provide ethical approval to research being conducted in the NHS. They protect the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of research participants. 

Ethical approval from the appropriate NHS Research Ethics Committee is required for any research proposal involving: 

  • NHS patients and service-users. This includes all potential research participants recruited because of their past or present treatment by, or use of, the NHS. It includes NHS patients treated under contracts with private sector institutions
  • Individuals identified as potential research participants because they are relatives or carers of  NHS patients and service-users, as defined above
  • Access to data, organs or other bodily material of past and present NHS patients
  • Foetal material and In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) involving NHS patients
  • Recently deceased in NHS premises
  • Use of, or potential access to, NHS premises or facilities

For more information read our leaflet 'Defining Research - A guide to understanding research and research development'.

NHS Research Ethics Committees in Wales

There are currently seven NHS Research Ethics Committees (RECs) in Wales. 

  • Wales REC 1 & Wales REC 2
    Mr Carl Phillips / Mrs Jag Sidhu
    Health and Care Research Wales Support Centre, Castlebridge 4, 15-19 Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, CF11 9AB
    02920 230457
    carl.phillips@wales.nhs.uk / jagit.sidhu@wales.nhs.uk

  • Wales REC 3
    Dr Corinne Scott / Mrs Helen Williams
    Health and Care Research Wales Support Centre, Castlebridge 4, 15-19 Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, CF11 9AB
    02920 230457
    corinne.scott@wales.nhs.uk / helen.williams19@wales.nhs.uk

  • Wales REC 4
    Mrs Tracy Biggs
    G1 / G2 Croesnewydd Hall, Croesnewydd Road, Wrexham Technology Park, Wrexham, LL13 7YP
    01978 726377

  • Wales REC 5
    Dr Rossela Roberts
    Clinical Academic Office, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor LL57 2PW
    01248 384877

  • Wales REC 6
    Mrs Penny Beresford
    Floor 8, NHS Business Services Centre, 36 Orchard Street, Swansea SA1 5AQ
    01792 607416

  • Wales REC 7
    Mrs Sue Byng
    PO Box 108, Building 1, St David’s Park, Carmarthen SA31 3WY
    01267 225045

Our commitment

We are committed to ensuring all applicants:

  • have their applications processed and reviewed in accordance with the National Research Ethics Service (NRES) Standard Operating Procedures and the Governance Arrangements for Research Ethics Committees (GAfREC);
  • are treated with courtesy by REC staff and members.

Research ethics policy in Wales is the responsibility of the Welsh Government’s Research and Development Division, on behalf of the Minister for Health and Social Services.