Since the NIHR was set up in 2006 to investigate a range of healthcare matters there has been a commitment to ensure that all research funded through its various funding schemes involves members of the public in some capacity to assist in how research-based knowledge is applied across all healthcare sectors.
RfPB is supportive of active patient and public involvement (PPI) in the research projects it funds and the commissioning process itself. Service user participation is therefore embedded in all aspects of the programme. As part of the assessment criteria, each application the programme receives is required to demonstrate the quality and extent of PPI within the project, as well as how patients and other members of the public have been involved in the application and will be involved in the research, if successful.
Patient and public involvement in research means that members of the public and / or patients are active partners in the research process by, for example, advising on a research project, assisting in the design of a project, or in carrying out the research, rather than being the subjects of research.
Each application submitted to RfPB is not only reviewed by academic and clinical peers but also by members of the public (lay reviewers).
When talking about the public we mean:
- People who use health and social care services.
- Informal carers and families.
- Members of the public who may be targeted by public health programmes.
- Organisations representing the users of NHS services and community groups.
It is the task of the lay reviewers to assess the level of PPI and the potential for patient / public benefit of the proposed research. They are also required to provide a lay perspective of the research proposed in the application.
As well as including PPI in the external review process, three PPI members also sit on each of the ten Regional Advisory Committees and take an active part in the assessment, discussion and shortlisting of applications recommended for funding. These are forwarded for final consideration by the Programme Director and the Director General of Research and Development at the Department of Health.