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Health and social care leaders sign shared commitment to improve public involvement in research

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The health and social care leaders from various organisations in the UK, led by the Health Research Authority (HRA) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), have united and signed up to the commitment of involving general public in all types of health and social research.

The organisations include the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, the Association of Medical Research Charities, Chief Scientist Office, Health and Care Research Wales, Health and Social Care Northern Ireland, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, NHS Research Scotland, Universities UK and UK Research and Innovation.

Richard Torbett, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said: “The UK faces an immense challenge in rebuilding a sustainable NHS post-pandemic that is able to deliver world-class patient care and attract global research investment.

“That cannot happen without collaboration between the life sciences industry, patients and the public, which is why we are committed to embedding patient and public involvement at the heart of research.”

The statement, signed by leaders at each organisation, notes that the public involvement means all the ways in which the research community works together with people including patients, carers, advocates, service users, and members of the community.

It also promises to support improvements in equality, diversity, and inclusion in public involvement.

“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,” the statement reads.

The shared commitment builds on earlier work, led by the HRA. In January last year the HRA produced a report, on their public involvement matching service which was set up in response to the drastic reduction in public involvement seen in studies submitted for approval at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new commitment aims to address the gaps identified in leadership and communication by bringing patients and public contributors and leaders in health and social care together to actively set out the importance of public involvement in all health and social care research with the ambition of delivering better health and social care.

Commenting, Lord Kamall, Minister for Technology, Innovation and Life Sciences, said: “We want the UK to be one of the best places in the world to invest in a life-science business and to deliver research that benefits everyone. The key to this is to develop stronger partnerships between research and patients and the wider public.

“Involving the public in research will help researchers conduct better studies that are open to everyone. Such inclusive research will enable the UK to deliver more world-leading, life-changing breakthroughs in science and improvements, which in turn will improve the health of our nation.”

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