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Research In The NHS In Collaboration With The National Institute For Health And Care Research (NIHR)


Clinical Research is a major driver of innovation and central to NHS practice for maintaining and developing high standards of patient care. Participating in clinical research allows patients to get access to new interventions, treatments and medicines. Ultimately, investment in research means better and more cost-effective care for patients.

Melrose Practice is part of a network of local practices participating in research activities under the banner of NIHR Thames Valley and South Midlands (NIHR CRN TVSM).

The NIHR is the nation’s largest funder of health and care research and provides the people, facilities and technology that enables research to thrive. Working in partnership with the NHS, universities, local government, other research funders, patients and the public, they deliver and enable world-class research that transforms people’s lives, promotes economic growth and advances science.

Click here to find out more about the work of the National Institute for Health and Care Research.


What is Primary Care Research?

Within a primary care setting, researchers and primary care practitioners (GPs, nurses, pharmacists, dentists) support the delivery of a wide range of research, including studies which look at:

  • Promoting a healthier lifestyle
  • Disease diagnosis and prevention
  • Management of long-term illnesses such as diabetes or hypertension
  • Prevention of future ill-health
  • Treating common conditions such as influenza

Taking Part In Research


Melrose Practice is involved in medical research and from time to time you may be approached to take part. Taking part in research is voluntary: you can freely accept or decline, and this will not affect the care that you receive in any way. Even if you agree to take part, you can still withdraw at any time, without having to provide justification. Withdrawing from a study will NOT affect the care we provide for you.

All research projects carried out at Melrose Practice have been thoroughly checked and approved by the relevant health authorities & ethical committees ensuring it is appropriate and safe to perform. You will always receive clear information about what taking part in a research study would involve and will have the opportunity to ask questions and obtain further details about a study. All projects are fully compliant with all UK laws (incl. GDPR).

  • You may receive a text message, email or a letter in the post offering you the opportunity to take part in a study (the letter will include some information about the project).

  • Your doctor or nurse may also discuss research opportunities during your usual appointment.

  • You may also be approached by a member of the study team in the waiting area; be assured that this person and their activity will have been approved by the practice.

What you will be asked to do as part of the research will vary from study to study. The Patient Information Sheet for each project will detail what is expected of you. The study team is also there to answer all questions you may have.

What Are The Benefits Of My Practice Being Research Active?


Evidence suggests that patients who receive care in research-active institutions have better health outcomes than those who are treated in a non-research environment.

By joining the research community, we are actively helping to improve the standard of healthcare for our patients.

Research provides an opportunity for you, the patient, to better understand your health conditions as well as give something back to the NHS and wider community.

Sometimes it can provide patients with access to new treatments, as well as bringing a new dimension to practice and added skills to those involved.

The practice will receive funding to cover any additional costs of taking part in research (it does not come out of our own budget and so routine patient services will not be affected).

Frequently Asked Questions


Research is only possible if patients and healthy volunteers are willing to take part. Some people may find the idea of taking part in research quite daunting. But it can be incredibly rewarding to be able to contribute to the health of others. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions, but if you would like to know anything further please feel free to get in touch:

  • Do I have to take part in research?

    No! Research is entirely voluntary, and you have the right to say ‘No’. Nobody will put pressure on you to take part in research if you do not wish to. You do not have to give us a reason if you decide not to take part. Your care and your relationship with your doctor or nurse will not be affected in any way if you decide not to take part.

  • How will I know what taking part in research involves?

    Each study is different, but you will always receive clear information about what taking part in a research study would involve before you agree to participate. The practice will usually provide you with a patient information sheet; then, if you agree to take part, the study team will explain the study to you in more detail and you will have the opportunity to ask questions about it.

  • Where will I have to go to take part?

    Most of our studies will involve attending the surgery. But advances in digital technology means there are now more ways to get involved in research from the comfort of your own home.

  • Will I have to take drugs?

    Not all health and care research involves taking drugs. Research can also involve testing a new device to help monitor or administer a medicine. Or it might look at whether certain changes in diet and lifestyle could help improve people’s health. Some research might simply involve talking to someone, completing a short questionnaire or even using an app on a mobile device. Research can also look at different ways of delivering health and social care.

  • Who will have access to my notes?

    Nobody from outside the practice will be given your contact details or have access to your medical records without your prior consent. If you do agree to take part in a study, you will be asked to sign a consent form – this will clearly state which parts of your notes (if any) may be looked at for the purposes of the research.

  • What happens to data collected about me?

    As part of the consent process, when you sign up for a health study the researchers will provide details of what will happen to any data they collect about you. This is to ensure you’re happy with how it’s used.

    Data collected during health and care studies is ‘anonymised’. This means it is no longer linked to your name, only to details about you such as your age, gender, or ethnicity. This data would, if the study allows, only be shared between researchers without any risk to your privacy or confidentiality.

    Research also has to go through ethical approvals, which will assess the use of patient data. It must also comply with the laws and regulations on privacy and confidentiality.

  • What happens in commercial research?

    Health research is funded by different people – including drug companies, charities and the government. However, when the NHS undertakes research specifically for drug companies, the company pays the full cost.

    Everyone benefits from the development of new medicines. Without commercial drug companies there would be less research taking place.

  • Does taking part affect my travel plans or insurance?

    If you have plans to take a holiday, do discuss this with the research team before enrolling in a study. It might impact on your availability for appointments and follow up visits or tests.

    Taking part in a research study should not affect your travel insurance cover, providing the medical condition in question doesn’t. This guidance from the Association of British Insurers (PDF) states:

    When individuals apply for travel insurance, insurers will typically ask questions about an individual’s health in order to make an accurate risk assessment. This risk assessment takes into consideration the health of the individual and the insurer will often ask questions about pre-existing health conditions and medical treatments for those conditions.

    Travel insurers do not typically ask about research. Where an insurer does ask an individual about their participation research, the insurer must ensure the question is clear and the individual should answer it accurately and honestly. Insurers are interested in the health of an individual, not their participation in research.

Research For All


It is important that health and social care research meets the needs of the whole population and enables opportunities for all to participate. Evidence has shown that traditionally ‘under-served’ groups are often reluctant to sign up and take part in research, so one of the ways we are addressing this is by getting out and about, attending local events to promote the work we are doing, demystifying research and making it more accessible to all.

If there is an event/community group you would like us to attend to talk about research please free to get in touch:

Our Current Studies

  • DARE2THINK - Testing whether earlier use of direct oral anticoagulants in patients with prior or current atrial fibrillation can prevent thromboembolic events and cognitive decline.

  • APRIL - Clinical trial assessing whether Ashwagandha, a traditional Indian herbal medicine, can promote recovery from Long COVID.

  • DURATION - Impact of duration of antibiotic treatment on symptoms, recovery and antibiotic resistance in adult women with urinary tract infections (UTIs).

  • SANOFI-POS-ARI-PC-001 - Observational study of acute respiratory infections in primary care settings.

  • T2T - Trial designed to test the clinical and cost-effectiveness of using a goal-directed allopurinol-based-treat to target approach in people with recurrent gout flares.

Mental Health
  • PETRUSHKA - Study aiming to personalise treatment for people with depression using a web-based decision support tool to predict which antidepressant works best for each individual patient.

  • RESTED - Study testing whether using a treatment to improve sleep will also improve depression.

  • ASYMPTOMATIC - A study to find out how best to use inhaled steroids for children with mild asthma.

  • DEFINE - Study investigating whether measuring FeNO in GP surgeries can improve management of patients with asthma.

If you would like to find out more about any of these studies please contact Katherine Priddis (Research Nurse Lead) or 07918 184472

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