Patients and members of the public who take part in health and social care research are at the heart of a new three-year strategy being launched by the Health Research Authority today (Wednesday 8 June).
The UK regulator sets out how it will make it simple and fast to deliver research that people can trust following two key principles – include and accelerate.
The HRA worked with a panel of patients and members of the public to draw up the new strategy. Members of the public will join health leaders to launch the strategy in Manchester today.
The HRA oversees 64 Research Ethics Committees made up of a mixture of expert and lay volunteers which provide a vital independent but often unseen service to give trustworthy research the stamp of approval. As part of the launch guests at the Manchester Science and Industry Museum will get to witness a committee in action.
Matt Westmore, the HRA’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The UK is amongst the best places to do research in the world, with outstanding science, globally successful companies, our national health and social services and strong public support. Fundamental to our success is trust, meaning that people want to get involved in research and use its findings.
‘Cementing our status as a destination to do world-leading research with public confidence will attract investment, creating more research opportunities for patients and the public and helping us to better meet their needs.
‘This strategy focusses on earning and maintaining people’s trust in research.’
Monoj Mistry, a public contributor and carer, from Ashton Under Lyne, Tameside, Greater Manchester, is one of the members of the public who has helped the HRA develop its new strategy.
He said: ‘As a Public Contributor, I’m delighted to be able to genuinely co-produce HRA’s new strategy, actively ensuring that the patient, carer and public voice is central, recognised and always heard. Our input has been valued and incorporated.’
The strategy has the backing of Lord Kamall, Minister for Innovation.
He said: ‘Health and care research is crucial to transform our health service and ensure the NHS is able to deliver world-class care.
‘It has been vital in our fight against COVID and in saving thousands of lives, whether through the rapid creation of vaccines or the identification of life-saving treatments like dexamethasone.
‘This new strategy has patients and the public at the centre and will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of life sciences and innovative safe research, improving the health of our nation and saving lives.’
Circle Steele, Chief Executive Officer at the Wai Yin Society, from Chorlton, is attending the launch and also worked on the strategy.
She said: ‘Community engagement is very important, particularly for those for whom English is a second language, many of whom may currently be underserved by health and social care. People trust their community. Researchers, organisations like the Health Research Authority and community members can develop new ways of working together that work for them, opening up opportunities for people to be involved in research that they can trust.’