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Embedding public involvement in health and social care research

Funders, regulators and research organisations who play an important role in the UK health and social care research have come together, working with members of the public, to sign up to a bold new shared commitment to improve public involvement in research.

NHS Research Scotland alongside the Chief Scientist Office, have worked with the Health Research Authority, the National Institute for Health Research and a host of organisations across the UK to bring about changes which will drive up standards in health and social care research.

Shared Commitment to Public Involvement

Public involvement is important, expected and possible in all types of health and social care research.

People have the right to be involved in all health and social care research. Excellent public involvement is an essential part of health and social care research and has been shown to improve its quality and impact. People’s lived experiences should be a key driver for health and social care research.

When we talk about public involvement, we mean all the ways in which the research community works together with people including patients, carers, advocates, service users, and members of the community. 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.

Working together we will support the research community to carry out excellent public involvement.  We will provide or share guidance, policies, systems, and incentives. We will

  • listen to and learn from the people and communities we involve and apply and share that learning
  • build and share the evidence of how to involve the public and the impact this has
  • support improvements in equality, diversity, and inclusion in public involvement
  • promote the UK Standards for Public Involvement

Scotland's commitment to Public Involvement in Health

As part of the development of the shared commitment to public involvement in health research, NHS Research Scotland and the Chief Scientist Office have developed our own organisational commitments. These will guide our future work and ensuring patients and the public are involved in our work will be a key priority:

  • continue to ensure public involvement is a requirement in all CSO funding schemes and awards
  • continue to ensure CSO has early public involvement in all our funding processes
  • share best practice and opportunities for training and development
  • collaborate with colleagues across the UK and internationally
  • work to address equality, diversity and inclusion in patient and public involvement activities
  • develop clear resources and signposting for patients and researchers
  • support patient and public involvement activities across our networks
  • support and promote the use of the UK Standards for Public Involvement