This site is optimised for modern browsers. For the best experience, please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

People in South West share positive experiences of taking part in clinical research during pandemic

PRES summary 2020 2021

Nine out of 10 people in the South West who took part in a research study – including COVID-19 vaccine trials – would consider taking part in clinical research again, the findings of a new survey reveal.

The Participant in Research Experience Survey (PRES) has been published by NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) South West Peninsula (SWP).

The PRES is a Department of Health and Social Care requirement. It is conducted across all regions in England every year to understand more about the experiences of clinical research patients, with all responses anonymous.

More than 1,400 people responded to the survey while taking part in research studies across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset between September 2020 and February 2021. Of the 1,446 who completed the survey, 23% were taking part in COVID-19 vaccine trials at either University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust or Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

Over 96 per cent said they would consider taking part in a research study in the future, with 96% of those who took part in a COVID-19 vaccine study who were surveyed also saying the same.

More than 99% of respondents said research staff always treated them with courtesy and respect, while 97% of people said the information they had received before taking part in the study had ensured they were well prepared.

A recurring theme in participant comments was that they are proud to be contributing to research which could improve outcomes for future patients and help find COVID-19 vaccines for everyone.

Here are a handful of comments from participants:

“It was great to be part of something.”

“I feel happy to be involved in research.”

“It was good to be a part of finding a vaccine.”

“I feel like I’m doing something useful.”

“I feel I was valued and contributing to an important topic.”

“I felt part of a valuable project that was clearly being run by dedicated professionals.”

Professor Michael Gibbons, NIHR CRN SWP Clinical Director, said: “We are extremely grateful to every research participant who took part in our survey and are delighted to see so many had a positive experience and would be willing to be part of research again.

“This survey was conducted during the peak of the second wave of COVID-19 in this country and it is testament to the dedication and selflessness of these volunteers, into both vaccine studies and other research, that we now have millions of people vaccinated against coronavirus and new treatments for those who contract the virus.

“The feedback from these people provides us with a vital insight into the experiences of individuals taking part in research across the South West Peninsula which will help show where improvements can be made. The findings will feed into work both locally and nationally to make sure the NIHR is serving the needs of all patients.

“We would also like to thank our colleagues in research teams across the region for ensuring their patients took part in the survey and had the opportunity to feedback on their experiences.”