Sarah Rae, Service User Advisor
Click to listen to Sarah talk about why research is important.

About research

Whilst under our care you may be asked about taking part in one of our research studies. If this happens, the information below may be of interest.

What is research?

Research is a process of steps used to collect and analyse information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue.  This can lead to changes in treatments, policies or care.

Why do we need research?

Research is vital to understand the causes and consequences of mental health issues, and to find better ways to treat mental health issues and improve the lives of those affected.

Why take part?

Taking part in research can benefit both you and services in separate ways. People who take part in clinical trials may have a better health outcome whether they receive the randomised treatment or not. This can be due to the extra monitoring that they receive and by becoming more closely involved in the care that they are receiving. Taking part in a research project may not always help you directly, but you may feel as though you are taking a more active role in your healthcare or that you are helping to improve treatments and services for others.

Staff that are involved in research tend to be up to date with current best practices and find that research helps their clinical practice.

What does ‘randomised’ mean?

Randomised means being selected by chance or in other words there is no pattern or reason behind the selection process, so it is really like taking numbers out of a hat. Most trials are randomised. This means that people taking part in a clinical trail are put in one of the two or more groups without the researcher knowing who goes in which group in order to avoid bias making this selection fair and ensuring that results are not unfairly influenced. Where there are two groups one group is randomly selected to receive the new treatment(s) and the other, the control group, will receive treatment as usual.

What does taking part in research involve?

You might be asked to take part in different types of research: some people are asked to complete only a questionnaire or talk to a researcher about their views, while others are asked to have blood tests or try a new medication.

Before taking part in any research, researchers or your healthcare worker will give you information about the project and what will happen if you decide to take part.

Will choosing to take part (or not) affect my treatment?

Your decisions about taking part in research will never affect the standard of care you receive.

What about confidentiality?

If you take part in a study, people other than your doctors may need to look at your medical records. Everyone who sees your records has to follow strict confidentiality rules, like all other NHS staff. Researchers do not share personal health information that can be traced back to you, unless you say they can or they come across information that makes them concerned about your safety, someone else’s safety or provides information about a major crime.

Who approves the study?

All research studies carried out at our Trust have been approved by an independent research ethics committee, see below, and the Trust. This ensures that the research is conducted with the highest standards and in the safest manner possible.

What is an ethics committee?

This is a group of people who make sure that the research being carried out does not put anyone at risk.

Will I have to decide straight away if I want to take part?

You should always take your time to think about the information and ask as many questions as you need to. You can also talk about the research with your healthcare worker, family and friends. You should only agree to take part if you fully understand what will happen and you are happy with this.

What is a consent form?

If you decide to take part in a research project you will normally need to show you are willing to take part by signing a form that gives your consent, sometimes called ‘informed consent’.

What if I change my mind

If you have chosen to take part in a research study, you can change your mind at any time without giving a reason and stop. Deciding to withdraw from a study will not affect the care you receive in any way.

What if I have concerns about the research?

If you have any questions or concerns about the research, you should contact the researcher in the first instance. For independent advice you can contact The CPFT Patient and Advice Liaison Service - Freephone 0800 376 0775
Desk number 01223 726774. E 


The page was last updated on 03 October 2017 by aient.


Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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