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Research partnership joins public involvement pledge

Last updated on 18 Oct 2022

A research partnership that works with communities in the North of England has joined other health and social care bodies in a pledge to improve public involvement in research.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) North East and North Cumbria joins the Health Research Authority and a host of other organisations to sign up to the Shared Commitment to Public Involvement in Health and Social Care Research.

The Shared Commitment aims to bring about changes which will drive up standards in health and social care research.

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A headshot of Dr Matt Westmore

It’s great to have NIHR ARC North East and North Cumbria joining our Shared Commitment to Public Involvement.

This shared statement, developed with patients, research participants and leaders in health and social care research, will ensure public involvement is embedded across the health and social care research system.

The entire research system is sending the same strong message. That public involvement is always important, always expected and always possible. The evidence is that better research results from involvement, and better research delivers benefits for patients.

Dr Matt Westmore, HRA Chief Executive

The NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) North East and North Cumbria is one of fifteen Applied Research Collaborations funded by NIHR across England.

Dr Felicity Shenton

As an Applied Research Collaboration, we already work carefully and considerately with our communities to ensure that public involvement and engagement is at the very heart of everything we do. Meaningful research can’t happen without active input and involvement from the people and communities that it is about, or aims to support.

By signing up to this shared commitment, we are strengthening our promise to ensure that ARC research is developed and undertaken collaboratively with communities, groups, patients and members of the public in our region.

Dr Felicity Shenton, Public Involvement and Community Engagement Manager for the NIHR ARC North East and North Cumbria

Embedding Public Involvement in Health and Social Care Research

The statement, signed by leaders at each organisation, reads:

'Public involvement is important, expected and possible in all types of health and social care research.

Together our organisations and members fund, support and regulate health and social care research. This statement is our joint commitment to improve the extent and quality of public involvement across the sector so that it is consistently excellent.

People have the right to be involved in all health and social care research. Excellent public involvement is an essential part of health and social care research and has been shown to improve its quality and impact. People’s lived experiences should be a key driver for health and social care research.

When we talk about public involvement, we mean 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.

Working together we will support the research community to carry out excellent public involvement. We will provide or share guidance, policies, systems, and incentives.

We will:

  • listen to and learn from the people and communities we involve and apply and share that learning
  • build and share the evidence of how to involve the public and the impact this has
  • support improvements in equality, diversity, and inclusion in public involvement
  • promote the UK Standards for Public Involvement

We will embed this commitment into the decision-making processes of our organisations.'

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The Shared Commitment builds on work led by the HRA in response the drastic 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.

Organisations who have signed the shared commitment include:

The Academy of Medical Sciences

The Association of Medical Research Charities

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry

Cancer Research UK

Health and Care Research Wales

Health and Social Care Northern Ireland

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement

National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR)

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) North East and North Cumbria

NHS Research Scotland

UK Research and Innovation

Universities UK

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