Patient, Carer and Public Involvement

The involvement of patients, carers and the public is vital to the development of effective research

Patient, Carer and Public Involvement and Engagement is the creation of a partnership between patients and the public and researchers, to try to make research more effective and relevant. It is a key requirement for ethical approval and many funding bodies also wish to see how patient needs and expectations have been incorporated into research plans.

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For some time now it has been considered good practice to involve patients, carers and the public in research. The involvement of patients, carers and the public in research can lead to the development of more relevant research questions and many funding bodies, such as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), now ask if patient and public involvement has been part of the research process. 

The National Research Ethics Service (NRES) will ask about plans for public involvement in your research if you apply for ethical approval. Funders also wish to see how researchers have collaborated with patients and the public and how patient needs and expectations have been incorporated into research plans.

Examples of patient and public involvement

  • commenting on research proposals/applications
  • as co-applicants on a research project
  • involvement in identifying research priorities
  • helping inform the design of data collection tools, for example, piloting a questionnaire
  • as members of a project advisory or steering group
  • commenting and developing patient information leaflets or other research materials

The development of the National Institute of Academic Anaesthesia (NIAA), the Health Services Research Centre (HSRC), and in particular the HSRC’s success in partnership working on major grant applications, has led to an increased and unmet need for PPI.

How to get PPI for your research

A Patient, Carer and Public Involvement and Engagement (PCPIE) group, based at the RCoA and reporting through the HSRC, has been set up to provide patient and public involvement to support researchers in anaesthesia and perioperative medicine.

The PCPIE group, formed in July 2013 consists of members selected from the College’s Lay Committee who have an interest in clinical research.

PCPIE considers would-be projects under the following criteria:

  • the importance of the subject to perioperative medicine
  • the value of such research to patients 
  • the clarity of the lay version of the proposal
  • the nature of the consent process and its reasonableness and confidentiality
  • the sample size
  • the arrangements for dissemination of results
  • the extent of early public/patient involvement in the proposal’s design.

Please visit the HSRC website to find out more and to read about what support PCPIE can offer.

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We have received positive feedback from a number of researchers who say that our advice has helped them to deal with ethical aspects and to obtain funding. If you have a subject for a research project, or work with someone who has a good idea to take forward, the sooner you get in touch, the more we can help.

Mr Bob Evans
PCPIE Group and RCoA Lay Committee Member

Do you need patient and public input for your research?
The HSRC's Patient, Carer & Public Involvement and Engagement Group (PCPIE) has been set up to support researchers in anaesthesia and perioperative medicine.

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