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Participant in Research Experience Survey (PRES) exceeds expectations

The Participant in Research Experience Survey (PRES)’s Annual Report for the 2022/23 survey has shown a surge in participation from the North East and North Cumbria (NENC) region, with numbers from the NENC PRES teams surpassing national averages.

PRES in the North East and North Cumbria region is managed by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria (CRN NENC). Nationally, PRES gathered a total of 32,603 responses, with the NENC contributing an impressive 3,911 responses. The target was initially set at 1,184 PRES responses, which was not only met, but exceeded. This marked a substantial increase from the previous two years and constituted a 12% of the total responses, doubling the response rate from the previous year and ranking it as the highest among all regions. This achievement showcases an unwavering commitment to fostering active research engagement within the community.

One of the most notable developments has been the surge in Children and Young People's surveys, which grew from a mere 1% of responses in the previous year to a significant 17% in 2022/23. The data reveals a significant shift from 17 children's responses in 2020/21, 10 in 2021/22, to a substantial 651 in the latest year.

Furthermore, the report delves into the responses from a diverse range of 16 ethnicities, providing an inclusive perspective of the survey's impact. Participants overwhelmingly voiced their positive experiences, with 94.4% expressing they felt valued by research staff. 96.3% also reported that they felt research staff treated them with courtesy and respect.

When participants were asked what was positive about their research experience, the responses centred on key themes including the provision of good information and communication, the friendliness and welcoming nature of research teams, and the sense of contribution to research and helping others.

The report also highlights that theNIHR CRN NENC PRES team’s strategies played a pivotal role in surpassing the PRES target. This includes setting internal targets for partner organisations, regular communication with PRES leads to monitor progress, making PRES visible within training courses, and creating a dedicated web page with resources to help research staff and a training video.

To build on this success, the PRES team at NIHR CRN NENC have included the following recommendations for the future:

  • Maintaining engagement with partner organisations
  • Exploring response rates and differences between PRES delivery methods
  • Optimising delivery methods for a better researcher and participant experience
  • Improving communication of research study results to participants

To enhance accessibility for participants, there are plans to develop a process to flag when studies are ending, create plain English summaries and share results effectively with participants and local communities. With further focus on improving navigation to the Patient Recruitment Centre (PRC) for participants, with taxi companies being provided with maps and directions.

More recently, the creation of a PRES Data Dashboard aims to assist Partner Organisations in using PRES data as an improvement tool. Efforts will be made to raise awareness of PRES in Partner Organisations and specialty groups, fostering a sense of collaboration in this dynamic research community.