Published: Friday 15 May 2015

We’re supporting the "It’s OK to ask" campaign, to support patients to take part in clinical research. This new campaign led by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) encourages patients to ask their family doctor, nurse or consultant about research opportunities available to them.

Clinical research is the way in which the medical community learns about new and improved treatments and therapies for patients. It is essential to advance healthcare in the NHS. There is also robust evidence to suggest that patients receive better care when they take part in a research study because there are strict rules to govern the treatments and monitoring they receive.

In many cases, doctors will approach eligible patients and carers about taking part in research, but patients should also be encouraged to seek research opportunities proactively. This NIHR campaign is telling patients that "It’s OK to ask" their doctor or consultant about clinical research in the NHS and that they should feel confident in doing so.

Empowering stroke patients to take part in research

Working with stroke survivors, the Stroke Association and the Stroke Research Network have jointly developed a booklet about clinical research in stroke, to help patients make informed decisions about participating in a research study or trial. The booklet explains what a clinical trial is and why they are important, and what it is like to take part.

More than a third of stroke patients experience a condition called aphasia which means they have problems understanding or producing language. These communication difficulties are an added barrier to research participation, as they make it harder for patients to understand the study or to provide consent.

To ensure these patients also feel empowered to take part in clinical research, today we are launching a new aphasia-friendly version of the clinical trials booklet.

The booklet was developed using the Stroke Association’s Accessible Information Guidelines in consultation with stroke survivors who have aphasia. It will provide researchers, doctors and patients with a tool to support the discussion about clinical research and make it accessible to all patients after a stroke.

Join the "It’s OK to ask" campaign

If you have had a stroke or TIA and are still receiving treatment, you can join the campaign by asking your doctor, nurse or consultant about clinical research in your area, and whether it might be right for you. If you are not receiving treatment, you can ask at your next routine health appointment.

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. You can log your support in any of the following ways:

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