Category / Clinical Governance

COVID-19: health and social care research projects for educational purposes

COVID-19 guidance for clinical researchers

The Health Research Authority have released guidance for clinical researchers, sponsors and sites with regard to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – please read this guidance if you are currently conducting your project or are in the planning stages/set-up of the study (so you are aware of the current situation).

This guidance is subject to change and will be updated as and when required by the HRA.

You can read the guidance in the link provided above, but for convenience, these are the most likely situations BU clinical researchers may face. Please ensure that in planning amendments that these do not create additional burden to NHS staff or resources.

Amendments to existing studies impacted by wider COVID-19 response 

  • Example – Where changes to administrative arrangements are required to reduce burden or physical contact with sites – for example, changes to monitoring arrangements.

How this should be handled – these are non-substantial amendments that do not require HRA/HCRW approval or NHS R&D agreement. Where the study involves the NHS, they will be marked by the sponsor as a category C amendment not requiring assessment, and sent directly to the sites. The site should implement the amendment on the date specified by the sponsor.

  • Example – Where changes are made to how or when patients are seen to avoid exposing patients or to reduce burden on clinical services – for example, changing site visits to phone calls or postal questionnaires.

How this should be handled – these are non-substantial amendments that do not require HRA/HCRW approval or NHS R&D agreement. The same procedure as the first example should be followed.

  • Example – Where a temporary halt needs to be placed on some or all of the study, or the duration of the study needs to be extended.

How this should be handled – these are non-substantial amendments that do not require HRA/HCRW approval or NHS R&D agreement. The same procedure as above should be followed.

  • Example – studies that need to be closed.

How this should be handled – for studies not involving provision of treatment to participants, a notification to the REC or study-wide review (for non-REC studies) should be provided, and an end of study report should subsequently be provided.
For any studies involving provision of treatment to participants, careful consideration should be given to post-study care. If this cannot be in line with the information provided in the participant-information sheet, a substantial amendment should be submitted.

To support sites in implementing the amendments it is important that:

  • The changes and local implications are made clear
  • Any changes to documentation are provided in tracked changes
  • In England and Wales All correspondence to sites should be copied to R&D/I department and the PI and delivery teams
  • Where indicated above, the sponsor should include the category and confirm that no assessment is required.

There may be some instances in which the site may raise issues or changes that need to be made. If they do, please inform the Sponsor as soon as possible.

What to do next

If you think that you may need to implement any changes or amendments to your study due to COVID-19 please get in touch with us as soon as possible. If you have any concerns or queries then please also get in touch to discuss these.

Latest NIHR-CRN podcast

The latest podcast in the Health Research Futures series comes from Professor Julie Lovegrove. Professor Lovegrove is from the University of Reading and talks about the challenges of conducting nutritional research and overcoming them.

 

Informed Consent training opportunities

Before agreeing to participate in your study, your participants should receive all the information they require in order to make an informed decision. Once they wish to participate, then an informed consent form should be completed and filed appropriately.
Although the process sounds complex, there are currently a great training opportunities to help familiarise yourself with the background to, and process of informed consent in clinical research.

The Wessex Clinical Research Network are hosting the following training sessions at University Hospital Southampton and at Wessex CRN’s office –

  • NIHR CRN Informed Consent training, Thursday 26th March, 08:45am – 1:00pm, CRN Wessex, Unit 7, Berrywood Business Village, Hedge End, Southampton, SO30 2UN;
  • NIHR CRN Informed Consent training, Thursday 7th May, 8:30am – 12:30pm, University Hospital Southampton, Level C, West Wing, NIHR WTCRF, Southampton, SO16 6YD;
  • NIHR CRN Informed Consent training, Thursday 7th May, 1:00pm – 5:00pm, University Hospital Southampton, Level C, West Wing, NIHR WTCRF, Southampton, SO16 6YD;
  • NIHR CRN Informed Consent training, Friday 26th June, 08:45am – 1:00pm, CRN Wessex, Unit 7, Berrywood Business Village, Hedge End, Southampton, SO30 2UN

If you’re interested in attending, get in touch with the Wessex CRN to book your place.

Introduction to Good Clinical Practice – Tuesday 17th March at Dorset County Hospital

Are you interested in running your own research project within the NHS or healthcare? Good Clinical Practice, or ‘GCP’, is a requirement for those wishing to work on clinical research projects in a healthcare setting.

GCP is the international ethical, scientific and practical standard to which all clinical research is conducted. By undertaking GCP, you’re able to demonstrate the rights, safety and wellbeing of your research participants are protected, and that the data collected are reliable.

The next GCP full day session is scheduled for Tuesday 17th March, at Dorset County Hospital, Dorchester – 8:45am – 4:30pm.

The day will comprise of the following sessions:

  • Introduction to research and the GCP standards;
  • Preparing to deliver your study;
  • Identifying and recruiting participants – eligibility and informed consent;
  • Data collection and ongoing study delivery;
  • Safety reporting;
  • Study closure.

If you’re interested in booking a place, please contact Research Ethics.

Remember that support is on offer at BU if you are thinking of introducing your research ideas into the NHS – email the Research Ethics mailbox, and take a look at the Clinical Governance blog.

Health Research Authority email addresses are changing

All email addresses at the HRA are changing in the coming weeks and this change will be complete by March 2020.

HRA staff email addresses will be standardised as firstname.lastname@hra.nhs.uk. A full list of contact email addresses for the Research Ethics Committees is now available here.

If you use the HRA staff member’s @nhs.net email address to contact them after they have moved to their new email address, you will receive a response containing their new details but your email won’t be automatically forwarded.

If you are unsure which contact information to use for the individual or service you require, please contact the HRA mainline on 020 797 22545 or use their contact form.

Make sure to check your junk mail if you are expecting emails from the HRA or an NHS REC as they often are sent there instead. Please add them to your safe senders list if this is the case to make sure you don’t miss any important study emails!

Introduction to Good Clinical Practice – Tuesday 17th March at Dorset County Hospital

Are you interested in running your own research project within the NHS or healthcare? Good Clinical Practice, or ‘GCP’, is a requirement for those wishing to work on clinical research projects in a healthcare setting.

GCP is the international ethical, scientific and practical standard to which all clinical research is conducted. By undertaking GCP, you’re able to demonstrate the rights, safety and wellbeing of your research participants are protected, and that the data collected are reliable.

The next GCP full day session is scheduled for Tuesday 17th March, at Dorset County Hospital, Dorchester – 8:45am – 4:30pm.

The day will comprise of the following sessions:

  • Introduction to research and the GCP standards;
  • Preparing to deliver your study;
  • Identifying and recruiting participants – eligibility and informed consent;
  • Data collection and ongoing study delivery;
  • Safety reporting;
  • Study closure.

If you’re interested in booking a place, please contact Research Ethics.

Remember that support is on offer at BU if you are thinking of introducing your research ideas into the NHS – email the Research Ethics mailbox, and take a look at the Clinical Governance blog.

‘Research adrenaline junkie: how clinical research energised my career’

The Royal College of Physicians have recently published a set of articles that reflect the crucial role clinical research plays in the NHS.

This article comes from a Consultant Gastroenterologist at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust in which he talks about the transformational effect that clinical research had on his career.

You can see the article here.

Remember – support and guidance is on offer at BU if you are thinking of conducting clinical research, whether in the NHS, private healthcare or social care  – get in touch with Research Ethics. You can also take a look at the Clinical Governance blog for resources and updates.

Happy reading!

The Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT)

SoECAT stands for the ‘Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool’ – either a SoECAT or a Schedule of Events (SoE) is required whenever you are conducting clinical research in the NHS or Social Care. Further information and clarification is provided below.

What is the purpose of the SoECAT?

  • The SoECAT is a way of providing clarity to participating NHS  organisations on the cost attributions associated with a study.
  • The template is designed to support correct cost attribution at application for Research Cost funding, to ensure that full site level Research Costs are recovered.

When is a SoECAT required?

  • A SoECAT is required by National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and NIHR non-commercial partner research funders where the call relates to studies that may involve participants under an NHS or Health and Social Care duty of care.
  • In some cases, your study may be funded by an NIHR infrastructure award which does not cover Excess Treatment Costs (ETCs) – in these cases, a SoECAT would be required in order to access the ETC process for England. Further information on ETCs can be found here.
  • In cases where your study is not funded by the NIHR or a NIHR non-commercial partner, but you wish to make an application to the NIHR CRN Portfolio, you will need to complete a SoECAT.

How do I complete one?

  • The NIHR have recently released new guidance on how to complete a SoECAT which can be found here.

When is it completed and where does the SoECAT go when it is completed?

  • The SoECAT should be completed at the funding application stage.
  • The form must be authorised by an AcoRD Specialist prior to submission for Research Cost funding.
  • It should be submitted alongside your other supporting documents when applying through the IRAS system for NHS Ethics approval and/or Health Research Authority approval*.
  • The SoECAT/SoE is then sent to your participating NHS/HSC organisations as part of the Local Information Pack at the site study set-up stage.

*Where there is no external funding attached to a project, the Schedule of Events should be used instead of a SoECAT.

Where can I get further support and guidance?

  • Your research funder should have guidance you can follow if you are unsure about whether your application requires a SoECAT at the Research Cost funding application stage.
  • Get in touch with Suzy Wignall, the Clinical Governance Advisor, or your Funding Development Officer.
  • Further information about the SoECAT can be found here.

Remember – support and guidance is on offer at BU if you are thinking of conducting clinical research, whether in the NHS, private healthcare or social care  – get in touch with Research Ethics. You can also take a look at the Clinical Governance blog for resources and updates.

Guidance available to support researchers attending an NHS REC meeting

Two new links have been added to the Clinical Governance blog under the ‘Useful Links and Documents’ section which give further information and guidance as to attending an NHS Research Ethics Committee meeting for your project. The links are also provided below-

Remember – support and guidance is on offer at BU if you are thinking of conducting clinical research, whether in the NHS, private healthcare or social care  – get in touch with Research Ethics. You can also take a look at the Clinical Governance blog for resources and updates.

RKEDF – Overview of NIHR, CRNs and NIHR portfolio

On Tuesday 11th February, Research Development & Support are running a 2 hour workshop to give an overview of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Clinical Research Networks and the NIHR ‘portfolio’.

This workshop is designed to raise awareness of the benefits of the NIHR’s portfolio of research studies to BU and NHS partners.  It will also explore the role of the NIHR Clinical Research Networks (CRN), with an emphasis on the set-up and work of our local network, Wessex.

The workshop will cover the requirements to be eligible for the NIHR portfolio, how to apply so that your study may be considered for adoption, and how to access the support of the NIHR CRN.

By the end of this workshop you will have an understanding about:

  • The work of the NIHR and layout of the CRNs
  • How to apply for and the requirements for portfolio adoption
  • The benefits of having a study on the NIHR portfolio

If you’re interested in attending then reserve your place via Organisational Development.

RKEDF – Good Clinical Practice ‘Lite’

On Tuesday 4th February, Research Development & Support are running a 2 hour workshop on the standards of Good Clinical Practice. If you’re running your own clinical research, or are planning to in the future then this workshop is for you.

This workshop is designed to ensure that Researchers are equipped to conduct clinical research in accordance with the international standard.

The workshop will cover other standards and regulations, roles in clinical research, participant eligibility and data collection, safety reporting and closing down your study.

By the end of this workshop you will have an understanding about:

  • The importance of protecting the rights, safety and wellbeing of research participants
  • The importance of ensuring that research data are reliable
  • The roles and responsibilities of those involved in clinical research
  • The different stages of the clinical research pathway

If you’re interested in attending then reserve your place via Organisational Development.

NIHR resources – Patient and Public Involvement and Social Media Toolkit

Two resources are now available on the NIHR Learn website for researchers –

  • Patient and Public Involvement: Inspiring New Researchers – an online course developed by the Department of Health and NIHR. It is intended to help researchers to understand the benefits of good Patient and Public involvement into their research.
  • Social Media Toolkit – a combination of practical resources on how to get started and real case studies from how colleagues across the NIHR Clinical Research Network are currently using social media to support their work.

To access the above resources you will need to have access to the NIHR Learn website. Once you have an account select the tab ‘Health Research Innovations’ and then click on ‘NIHR Endorsed Learning’. Both courses are free and do not require an enrolment key.

Remember – support and guidance is on offer at BU if you are thinking of conducting clinical research, whether in the NHS, private healthcare or social care  – get in touch with Research Ethics. You can also take a look at the Clinical Governance blog for resources and updates.

IRAS Central Booking Service closure

Please note that the Central Booking Service (CBS; used to book in for review of “IRAS Form” applications and applications only requiring ethical review) will close at 4.30pm on Wednesday 18 December 2019 and will re-open at 9am on Thursday 2 January 2020.

If you need to book in your project for NHS REC review please take note of this Christmas closure.

Any queries please email Research Ethics.

Talk/session with the Wessex Clinical Research Network Study Support Service

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation’s largest funder of health and care research – the NIHR oversee 15 Clinical Research Networks (CRN) and these CRNs work alongside NHS Trusts, primary care providers and Universities. Each CRN has a dedicated Study Support Service.

The NIHR have a portfolio of research studies that are eligible for consideration for support from the CRN in England.  Portfolio status is usually vital to participating NHS Trusts when considering undertaking a proposed study.

Information on the NIHR portfolio is present on the research blog, but at this session our local CRN’s Study Support team will provide you with an opportunity to hear about and discuss the network and the service, and how it could benefit you.

This session is aimed at those planning on conducting clinical research.
It is also designed to raise awareness at BU about the benefits and importance of the NIHR portfolio, so if you’re just interested in learning more, please book on.

The session will take place next week on Tuesday 10th December at 2:30pm until 4:00pm on Lansdowne Campus.

To register your interest or if you have any queries, please get in touch with Research Ethics.

Checklist now available to support researchers undertaking clinical research

Suzy Wignall (Clinical Governance Advisor – Research Development & Support) and Juan Campos-Perez (Clinical Research Coordinator – Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit) have compiled a checklist (PDF and word formats) that can be used to support researchers through the process of applying for and conducting clinical research.

The document contains links to various documents and further resources to guide researchers through areas such as applying for external approvals, running the study and closing the study. The checklist clearly sets out what tasks are required, the support/resources available to complete this tasks, a space to write your own notes/how this task was resolved and the date it was completed. Using this document will help you ensure that all the required tasks are completed during your research journey.

The document is also here on the Clinical Governance blog.

Remember – support and guidance is on offer at BU if you are thinking of conducting clinical research, whether in the NHS, private healthcare or social care  – contact details for Suzy and Juan are on the checklist, and you can also take a look at the Clinical Governance blog for resources and updates.

New UK Standards for Public Involvement

Involving the public in your study is important, especially at the research design stage. This is called ‘Public Involvement’ (also known as ‘PPI’ [Patient and Public Involvement]). Public involvement in research means research that is done ‘with’ or ‘by’ the public, not ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them.

By seeking the opinions and recommendations of the public, it is a great way to ensure that your study is designed and set-up in a way that will be relevant to participants, and of good quality.
This can also help to avoid any setbacks once the project is underway.

The new UK Standards for Public Involvement have now been released and were developed over three years by a country-wide partnership between the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Chief Scientist Office (CSO) Scotland, Health
and Care Research Wales, and the Public Health Agency Northern Ireland

They describe what good public involvement looks like and encourage approaches and behaviours that are the hallmark of good public involvement such as flexibility, sharing and learning and respect for each other.

You can see the six UK standards and supporting materials, as well as further details about the partnership, project and the piloting of the new standards, here.

Further guidance is available via the Clinical Governance section of the Research blog and via the Health Research Authority and NIHR pages.