Members of the public who have had, or cared for someone with, COVID-19 are being asked to join a new advisory group run by Leicester’s Hospitals to help researchers design future projects and studies.
By involving members of the public who have had direct experience of COVID-19, researchers can improve the research they do for patients and the community.
Members of this group will receive information on upcoming projects from researchers and will be asked to give their input. This may include giving thoughts on project summaries, attending virtual focus-group meetings or talking to researchers on the phone.
Rebecca Pritchard, Patient and Public Involvement Manager at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) said: “Patient and public involvement is a vital part of research in Leicester. Our existing groups have contributed to study designs to make sure the research we do works for the people it’s designed to help. Research is ultimately for the benefit of everyone, so it’s important that the patients and public give their expertise and are listened to.
“COVID-19 has greatly impacted healthcare research. Moving forwards it’s important that people with lived experiences of this illness are heard as we develop research, both about COVID-19 directly and about other medical conditions that may be impacted by the virus. This is especially important for a new illness like COVID-19 that we do not know much about. People who have experienced the disease will have important knowledge and insights that research will really benefit from.”
Dean Allen from Blaby has been a regular participant in patient groups advising local researchers. He said: “I’ve got the time to contribute to something that can help other people and make a difference, and it makes me feel valued. The team is very open and friendly and you feel supported. I can do as much or as a little as I’m able to depending on other commitments; there’s no pressure to get involved in everything.”
The new group is supported by dedicated staff at the NIHR Leicester BRC and will work with researchers across Leicester in a wide range of disciplines and specialties.
If you would like to find out more about being a part of the COVID-19 Advisory Group and sign up, please visit: https://www.leicestersresearch.nhs.uk/get-involved/covid-19-advisory-group/