Other ways to get involved with research

Whether you are a patient, carer or simply a member of the east London community, we want you to be involved in our research so that we can make sure we are meeting the needs of our local community.

There are many ways you can help us with our research, from telling us if you don’t understand a question (you’d be surprised how helpful this is!) to making sure people are approached in the right way. You might be asked to help us make sure the research is reported in the right way or to join an advisory group. Whatever your role in helping with our research, you will be at the frontier of modern medicine helping us improve health both locally and across the world.

For more information on how to get involved, please see our Introduction to Public Involvement in Healthcare Research

Current opportunities to get involved

1) Patient Research Champions

Do you have an interest in research and some free time to volunteer?

We have recently launched our Patient Research Champion role at Barts Health, where we are looking for patients/members of the public/service users/carers who are enthusiastic about health research and are willing to communicate that to other patients and public as well as healthcare professionals.

There is a range of ways that you can help across our five hospitals. Find out how to apply to be a Patient Research Champion.


2) A&E/Trauma patient groups

Our Accident and Emergency department have two patient groups that are always looking for new members to join.

1) Our A&E research team are looking for members of the public to join their Patient and Public Group. They meet quarterly to discuss current research and identify ways in which research can be effectively delivered in a busy A&E department. The team also ask members to look at proposed research and feedback any practical concerns or ideas they have. Find out how you can get involved with our A&E research team

2) Our Trauma team The Centre for Trauma Sciences (C4TS) is always looking for former trauma patients, carers and members of the public who are able to contribute to their research into the best ways to treat traumatic injury. Find out more about The Centre for Trauma Sciences


3) Pregnancy and childbirth research

The Katherine Twining Network researches topics around pregnancy and childbirth such as pre-term birth, pre-eclampsia, epilepsy in pregnancy, infertility, chronic pelvic pain, treatment options during caesarean section and nutrition in pregnancy. KT’s network always needs pregnant women and new mothers, as well as community advisers and other members of the community. For more information contact: ktnetwork@qmul.ac.uk

If you'd like to find other opportunities to get involved in health and social care research, please visit the People in Research website.

Patient and Public Involvement news

1) Patient story - Jack Grehan living life to the full after Haemophilia A 'cure' following study

Haemophilia A, which accounts for around 80 per cent of all Haemophilia cases, means the blood is unable to clot and patients are at risk of excessive bleeding from even the slightest injury – as well as potentially life-threatening spontaneous internal bleeding. Patients undergo three or more intravenous injections each week to control and prevent bleeding. About 6,000 people have haemophilia A and B in the UK.

For Jack Grehan, the bleeding centred around his ankles and would mean two or three days of rest, treatment and recuperation after a bleed before being able to resume normal life again. 

During an appointment to get his arthritis treated that he was told about a haemophilia study taking place at Royal London Hospital, part of Barts Health NHS Trust, lead by Professor John Pasi. 

During the trial, Jack received a single infusion of a missing gene. It was hoped that this infusion would help people living with haemophilia to maintain normal or near-normal levels of factor VIII, the blood-clotting protein which haemophiliacs usually lack.

Earlier this year, Professor Pasi’s team announced that the patients enrolled in 2017 were still seeing significant falls in the number of bleeding episodes. Jack has not needed any factor VIII for spontaneous bleeding at all.

Read the full story on the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) website 

2) Barts Bioresource patient gets involved in research by accident

When visiting St Bartholomew's hospital, Clara Lanatà bumped into a staff member she knew and was told she could get involved in the Barts BioResource by simply having a blood test, just as 23,000 other patients have done. 

The purpose of the Barts BioResource is to establish a repository of generic consented patients clinically managed by Cardiac Services at Barts Health NHS Trust. In addition to this, the consent may include the donation of human blood, saliva, urine, and tissue donation (for example, arteries, veins and heart tissue) for the purpose of establishing a biobank of medical data and samples for use in cardiac disease research.

Maudrian Burton, Senior Nurse Research Leader and Senior Research Manager at Barts Health said: “Research participants help clinicians to answer unanswered questions. It’s great to have someone like Clara who can speak positively about her research experience because it means it’s more personalised and it lowers some barriers to people taking part in research'.

Read the full story on the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) website 

The CRN North Thames also had a mini twitter campaign during Valentine's week (10-14 February) which Maudrian Burton and her team celebrated. See Twitter for more information and photos. 

3) New interactive course for public contributors/reviewers

INVOLVE has launched an interactive course for new and experienced reviewers of health and social care research.

This free course covers reviewing in all contexts for NIHR research funding programmes, plus skills and activities required at different levels and stages of research. It is designed for:

  • Public contributors who have been asked to provide feedback on a research document or sit on committee that assess several research documents.
  • Public contributors who are new to reviewing and those who want to know more.

Read the Public Reviewing course modules

If you'd like to find other opportunities to get involved in health and social care research, please visit the People in Research website.

Payment for public involvement for those in receipt of welfare benefits

The INVOLVE information sheet for the public offers information about what to consider when offered paid involvement. This includes where to seek expert advice about how payment may affect your welfare benefits. It explains the context in which payment is offered and how public involvement in research is different from paid employment (especially important if you are receiving incapacity benefits) and also refers to sections of the Department of Work and Pensions staff guidance that addresses the regulations covering payment for ‘service user involvement’.

New study to treat slow-healing diabetic foot ulcers

Type 2 diabetes in the UK is reaching epidemic proportions with approximately 3.2million people (roughly, 5% of the population) affected. Neuropathy and vascular disease are often contributory factors to the formation of diabetic foot ulcers, and can lead to amputation of the toe, foot, or leg, if left untreated.  Approximately 15%-25% of people with diabetes will develop at least one foot ulcer during their lifetime (Singh 2005).

The NICE Diabetic Foot Ulcer (DFU) Treatment Guidelines, published in August 2015, illustrated the extent of the challenges that the NHS faces in managing the treatment of DFUs, with over 169,000 diabetic foot ulcer cases each year. Delayed wound healing and the effective clinical management of chronic wounds, poses a significant challenge to both patients and clinicians.

Current standard of treatment for DFUs involves continuously replacing dressings, keeping weight off the ulcer and  optimising vascular and podiatry health.  

The RAPID Biodynamic Haematogel treatment, developed in a study led by Chief Investigator Sandip Sankar (Consultant Trauma and Vascular surgeon) at The Royal London, involves taking a small amount (50mls or about 3 tablespoons) of blood from the patient, which will be processed within a specialised blood processing machine to form a PRP Gel ‘dressing’. This dressing is made up of the patients own concentrated platelets with added vitamin C and will be placed onto the wound, aiming to assist the healing process.  It works by releasing a concentrated boost of the patient's own wound healing factors which restores the patient's own abilities to heal the wound naturally. The study will measure and compare how quickly wounds heal, when using the gel versus the use of standard wound dressings, in a randomised controlled trial.

Find out more about this study