Clinical trials

When you first attend the hospital, or at some time while you are receiving treatment, you may be asked to take part in a clinical trial.

Clinical trials are medical research studies involving people. The purpose of clinical trials includes looking for better treatments or better ways to prevent, screen or diagnose a disease such as cancer.

Why are clinical trials important?

Clinical trials are necessary to extend knowledge and improve current treatment and care, now and for future patients. Doctors use the results of earlier clinical trials when they advise you now, so you and other patients benefit from past trials. However, your doctor’s main priority will be to offer you the best treatment for your situation.

Information and consent

If you are asked to take part in a clinical trial, you need to be given enough information to help you make up your mind as to whether or not to participate. Taking part in a clinical trial is completely voluntary.

Clinical trials follow strict scientific and ethical rules to protect patients. You may like to discuss any questions or concerns you have with your doctor or research nurse. They do not want you to feel that you are under any pressure to take part in a clinical trial.

You may also find it helpful to talk through the trial with someone who is not directly involved in your clinical care. The organisations listed here can help.

Download this information

A booklet about clinical trials is available as a PDF from the patient information downloads part of this website.

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