HRA Latest - 30 September 2021

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NHS Health Research Authority

HRA Latest – 30 September  2021

Welcome to HRA Latest, I’m pleased to be able to share the latest updates for all those working or involved in health and social care research.

Today we launch Think Ethics, to make research ethics review better for all involved.

Think Ethics will put the important people – those who participate in research – at the heart of the review process, leading to positive change for researchers and ethics committees and the way they work.

Also this month, as the COVID-19 vaccine is rolled out to children aged between 12 and 15, one of our REC members, Dr Bob Phillips, blogs about the ethics of involving children in research.

As always, for regular updates and the latest news, you can follow us on Twitter @HRA_Latest.

Matt Westmore, Chief Executive.

A group of cartoon people with speech bubbles above their heads

Researchers encouraged to #ThinkEthics from the beginning of their research

Health and social care researchers often view ethics review as a hurdle to get over so they can start their research. We want them instead to think ethics from the beginning.

Think Ethics is putting people who participate in research at the heart of ethics review by encouraging researchers and the committees that review research to focus on what really matters to those who take part in studies. It aims to make ethics review more innovative, efficient and trusted – building on many of the changes made to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and lessons from running Research Ethics Committees with fellow regulators in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A female nurse using an iPad talking to a male patient in bed

Working with data driven research and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence can save time and resources for researchers and help drive progress, but also presents a challenge for regulators.

We’re working with NHSX as part of the NHS AI Lab to investigate the needs of people who develop AI and data-driven technologies for health and social care and to identify common issues. We’ll use this work to streamline the approvals process for studies using health data to develop new technologies and treatments.

You can read more about what you’ve told us so far on our website.

We are also working with other health and care regulators as part of a Multi-Agency Advice Service. Read more about our role in this blog from our Policy Manager Carly Wheeler.

Read the blog

Nuclear waste yellow and black logo

Radiation assurance for more studies

Our Radiation Assurance service will be expanding to accept all study types involving ionising radiation from 1 November 2021.

This change is part of the wider improvement programme for IRAS and you can find out more about how to prepare on our website.

Make it Public graphic

Making research transparency the norm

We’ve made changes to final reporting for health and social care research.

The changes, part of our Make it Public strategy, mean for the first time there’s a standard approach across all four nations of the UK for submitting key transparency information at the end of research studies. All studies that haven’t submitted their final report should now use the new form.   

Lay summaries of results included in the final report are being uploaded to the HRA website Research Summaries tool.

Find out more

COPI notice extension

The Department of Health and Social Care has extended the existing Control of Patient Information (COPI) general notice for a further six months to support the continued efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic over the winter. The notice is due to expire at the end of March 2022.

In the coming weeks we’ll contact applicants working under the COPI general notice to begin steps towards transitioning to the usual basis for processing confidential patient information (Regulation 5 support). If you are working under the COPI notice read our transition guidance.

Find out more

Reshaping consent

Members of our Oxford A Research Ethics Committee have written in the journal Research Ethics about how reshaping consent could help research participants make a more informed choice about whether to take part in health and social care research.

Read the article

The ethics of involving children in research

Data from clinical trials informed the JCVI’s decision to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine to children between 12 and 15 in England and Scotland last week. Dr Bob Phillips, a member of our Leeds East Research Ethics Committee and a researcher based at the University of York, blogs about the ethics of consenting and involving children in vital research.

Read the blog