The research community reached out to patients and the public across England, encouraging them to 'ask' about research opportunities that could be available to them by celebrating International Clinical Trials Day on 20 May 2015.
More than 100 events and activities took place across the country to celebrate the day and encourage more people to 'ask' about clinical research through the NIHR 'OK to ask' campaign. The West had a good number of events, including stalls at University Hospitals Bristol's hospitals and North Bristol Trust's launch of its Science Quarter.
Simon Denegri, NIHR National Director for Patients and the Public and sponsor of the 'OK to ask' campaign said:
"The 'OK to ask' campaign is now in its third year and the number of events and activities grows each year but we've really hit a milestone this year which is wonderful. The campaign gives a voice to the research community to make research more visible to people locally and patients and the public get an opportunity to 'ask' about research and what it could mean for them. It's a win-win for all concerned."
A recent survey conducted by the NIHR Clinical Research Network showed that 95 per cent of people surveyed said it was important to them that the NHS carries out clinical research but less than 21 per cent said they would feel very confident about asking their doctor about research opportunities.
Simon Denegri added:
"With more than 600,000 people taking part in clinical research studies in the NHS last year, it's vitally important that research is visible to people so that they can access information about research opportunities. This will encourage more people to ask about how they can get involved and eventually help to improve treatments and care across the NHS."
In the run up to International Clinical Trials Day, a series of weekly research focused Twitter chats have taken place using the #oktoaskhour. Expert panellists from some of the largest research specialty areas have joined the conversation each week to answer questions about research from healthcare professionals and members of the public.
You can catch up on the chat summaries: