Clinical research takes to the streets for International Clinical Trials Day (ICTD) 2015 #NIHRoktoask #trialsmatter #clinicaltrialsday

Happy International Clinical Trials Day (ICTD) 2015 everyone!

Today over 100 NHS Trusts will be taking part in NIHR’s ‘OK to ask’ campaign aimed at raising public awareness of clinical research and encouraging patients to take part in clinical studies.  There will be displays in hospital receptions and staff canteens, mock trials with chocolate (yummy!), Open Days and talks.

But this year the #NIHRoktoask campaign has also taken to the streets.  There’s a ‘Research Bus’ touring town centres in Gloucestershire, a ‘Research Trail’ for young people at Great Ormond Street, town halls being taken over, ‘flash mobs’ in city centres, and information stalls outside  supermarkets (with even more chocolate I hope).

Social media has been particularly active this year.  If you have a spare moment this lunchtime (Wednesday 20 May) I hope you will take part in or listen to the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit (MRC CTU) ‘tweetchat:’ ‘Why do clinical trials matter?’, with #trialsmatter as the hashtag.  They have four panellists who will be answering questions, and the Q&A will take place from 1-1.45 BST on Wednesday 20th May.  More details here.

You may also like to read the transcripts of the other twitter conversations NIHR has hosted on (just click on the relevant disease): cancer, diabetes, dementia, mental health, and stroke.

A quiet revolution is taking place.  Now in its third year the #NIHRoktoask campaign is a movement from the ground up.  It is driven by the passion and commitment of patients, researchers, nurses, doctors and managers working together to share the message that clinical research is vital, that it needs patients and healthy volunteers to come forward if we are to find new and better treatments and therapies. And they should be encouraged by what other patients tell us.

Our UK Clinical Research Facilities (UKCRF) Network will today be displaying a poster in their unit which shows the results of a survey they have done with over 700 patients about their experiences of research.  99% said that information was explained clearly to them on their visit – often with the help of patient and public volunteers, 97% said they would recommend taking part in research to their friends and family.   You can find the survey results here.

A few mornings ago I was walking down a London Street and passed one of those electric cars having its battery charged.  With its plug and long, dangly wire it seemed rather incongruous.  The scene would have been inconceivable ten years ago.  But not now. In fact, we might all be fighting over ‘car chargers’ rather than parking spaces before not too long.

In a similar vein, even five years ago this sort of activism about clinical research would have seemed impossible – desirable but impossible. But now it’s here.  And it’s where it should be – with and alongside the communities it seeks to serve.

Have a great day.

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