Why take part in a clinical trial?

Every year, more than half a million people help the NHS improve healthcare and develop life-saving treatments by taking part in clinical trials.

Whether you are a patient or a healthy member of the public, there are many reasons why you might decide to take part.

1. To help improve healthcare and medical research

Health professionals know a great deal about health, disease and medicines, but much is still unclear. Research helps answer these uncertainties, filling gaps in knowledge and changing the way we care for people.

Clinical trials are an essential part of medical research. They help us develop better treatments, which improve healthcare for adults and children. This can save many lives and add to the quality of life.

You may be interested in joining a clinical trial to improve healthcare generally, or to support medical research in a particular field because you or someone close to you has a specific illness.

You can search the UKCTG database by using the search bar at the top of the page to find trials based in a medical area of interest.

You might want to join a clinical trial to support research in a particular field of medicine

2. To take an active role in your own care

By taking part in a clinical trial you may feel that you are taking an active role in your healthcare. This may be of benefit to you.

On some clinical trials, your condition may be monitored more regularly than with standard care. Do ask your doctor what kind of attention you’ll receive.

3. To access a new treatment

If you have a medical condition, you might think about joining a clinical trial to gain access to a new treatment being tested. However, it is important to keep in mind that the drug trial or research study on a new device is only carried out to find if the new option is better than what is currently offered. It may be the same, or it may be worse. Drugs or devices tested in trials may also not be made available to  everyone on the NHS after the trial ends. See our section on what happens after the trial for more information on this.

Will I be paid for going on a clinical trial?

You may also receive money when you take part in a trial. This would be to cover your expenses, loss of earnings or your time.

Doctors are occasionally paid to recruit people into trials. We hope they will tell you if this is the case, but do feel free to ask them.