Leading health bodies reaffirm commitment to public involvement

Last updated on 26 Apr 2023

The Health Research Authority (HRA) joined leading organisations at a special event held to build on a bold joint pledge to improve public involvement in research.

The HRA Committing to Change event (held on Monday 24 April) saw the 17 health and social care organisations, who are part of the Shared Commitment, come together at a series of breakout sessions, panel discussions and presentations.

The Shared Commitment is a joint pledge that each of the organisations has signed, to improve the quality of public involvement across the health and social care research sector.

During the event, each of the 17 organisations, which includes NHS England, Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), discussed actions they would each take to drive change and deliver on the Shared Commitment.

The event included a keynote speech from Lucy Chappell, the Government’s chief scientific advisor, a presentation on the NIHR race equality framework and powerful speeches from two public contributors on the importance of public involvement.

The event was also attended by organisations who are hoping to join the Shared Commitment.

A headshot of Dr Matt Westmore

Through our Shared Commitment over the past year we have been working jointly with our public contributors and the leading organisations to raise the profile and importance of public involvement in health and social care research.

Now that our joint Shared Commitment is established, we must honour it. We need to build on what we have achieved so far, set clear priorities for the future, and work closely with our partners to ensure we deliver them.

It was wonderful to see all our Shared Commitment partners come together and develop actions that will take us a step further to ensuring that all health and social care research is done with the involvement of the public.

Matt Westmore, HRA Chief Executive

The Shared Commitment was developed in partnership with the HRA, leading health and social care organisations and members of the public and was launched in 2022.

It builds on work led by the HRA in response to the reduction in public involvement seen in studies submitted for approval at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public involvement refers to all the ways in which the research community works together with people including, patients, carers, advocates, service users, and members of the community.

Excellent public involvement is inclusive, values all contributions, ensures people have a meaningful say in what happens and influences outcomes, as set out in the UK Standards for Public Involvement.

Evidence shows that excellent public involvement improves the quality and impact of research.

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