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The use of information for research

Some research will require your direct involvement (especially if taking part in clinical trials) in which case the circumstances will be fully explained to you and your express consent required. If you do not consent, then you will not be included in the trial.

Sometimes, researchers need access to individual medical files. We will contact you first for your consent (and before this, the researchers must present their case before an ethics committee to check that their research is appropriate and worthwhile).

Rarely, it may be impractical (or even impossible) to contact individuals for their consent, in which case the researchers must make their case before an Ethics Committee to show that there is enough benefit to the public at large to justify this.

Other researchers only require access to medical statistics and can greatly improve our understanding of health and how to treat patients more effectively.

Generally, researchers only need information about groups of people, so that no individual information is identifiable. In some cases, they need individual records, but wherever we can, we will provide these in “anonymised” form (so individuals cannot be identified).

Teaching clinicians

Some medical files are needed to teach student clinicians about rare cases. Without such materials, new doctors and nurses would not be properly prepared to treat you.

Clinical placements

Clinical placements for students commonly take place within the NHS. Students, such as student nurses, medical students, social work students or health care cadets, could be receiving training in the service that is caring for you. This may be when you are an inpatient, or in a community setting such as a day hospital and even, in some cases, when you are being visited by health or social care staff at home.

If staff would like a student to be present they will always ask for your permission before that meeting or episode of treatment. If you do not want a student to be present you may refuse without the treatment or care you receive being affected.

Occasionally, for assessment purposes, students may request that their supervisor be present and, again, you may refuse if this makes you feel uncomfortable.

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