Get involved in designing trials

The Royal Marsden patient and carer research review panel gives patients and the public an active role in shaping future research projects at the Biomedical Research Centre.

Dr Natalie Pattison, lead for patient and public involvement at The Royal Marsden explains that it’s important to hear the views of the people the research will potentially affect, to ensure the patient is at the heart of the decision-making process: “This is about empowering individuals and communities so that they can play a greater role in shaping healthcare research.

“Patient and public involvement helps us identify what’s important to patients and the public, and how we can improve the way we run clinical trials.”

The panel was set up in 2011 and has already improved research projects being carried out at the BRC. The panel of up to 20 people meets four times a year to discuss research ideas presented by investigators and to discuss priorities. They also undertake email reviews of documents to make patient information more comprehensible for laypeople.

For example, the panel’s advice was invaluable in a study using bedside diaries – written by staff and families – to help patients piece together their Critical Care Unit stay. We were able to determine the best time to approach families and patients, and the panel also suggested undertaking a content analysis of the diaries. We wrote the trial protocol to reflect this and successfully gained ethical approval for the trial.

We are currently looking for people to join the panel.