A sweet idea to promote clinical research

Posted on in Hospitals, Research

The James Cook University Hospital is inviting staff and visitors to take part in a tasty chocolate-based research project to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day (Monday 20 May 2013).

The Drop Trial is a mock trial comparing the effects of chocolate drops and carob (a popular chocolate substitute) on a person’s mood.

OK to ask

The mock trial will be run by the Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network and will take place in the atrium at James Cook on Monday 20 May from 10am to 12noon.Participants will be asked to rate their mood on a scale of one to ten before and after tasting a sample chocolate/carob drop.

As well as giving people an insight into what it is like to take part in a clinical trial, the event aims to promote “It’s OK to ask”– a new campaign led by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to encourage patients to ask about clinical research.

Julie Rowbotham, research and development manager said: “Clinical research is the way in which we gather evidence to improve treatments for patients.

“In many cases doctors will tell patients about research but we also need patients to ask about it to keep research at the top of the NHS agenda.

“In a recent consumer poll less than 21% of patients and the public said that they would feel confident asking their doctor about research opportunities.

“We want everyone to know that it’s okay to ask your GP, nurse or consultant whether clinical research might be right for you.

“Last year we had more than 2,700 patients taking part in clinical trials in our area. Thanks to those patients we are learning more all the time about how to deal with a whole range of medical conditions.”

The International Clinical Trials Day awareness event in the atrium will also feature an attempt to get as many people as possible holding the campaign badge in one photo.

Research nurses will be on hand to talk about the trials currently open and recruiting and there will be an opportunity to talk to patients who have benefitted from taking part in clinical trials.

There will also be information leaflets and representatives from research networks, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s research and development department and the trust’s patient and public involvement team.

If you have a medical condition and are undergoing treatment, you can join the “It’s OK to ask” campaign by asking your doctor, nurse or consultant about clinical research, and whether it might be right for you or someone you care for.

If you do ask about clinical research please support the campaign by telling the NIHR what happened in one of the following ways:

  • On Facebook
  • On Twitter: @OfficialNIHR using #NIHRoktoask
  • By email to oktoask@nihr.ac.uk
  • By telephone 0300 311 99 66

By measuring these responses the NIHR will be able to let clinicians know that patients are interested in research. It will also help them improve the way they communicate.

You can also support the campaign personally, by having your picture taken with the “It’s OK to ask” campaign badge and sharing via the social media/email addresses above.