Research and Development

Weston Area Health Trust is committed to providing excellent patient care, education and research.

Research is essential if we are to be successful in promoting and protecting health and well-being and providing modern and effective health and social care services.

Many Trust staff carry out and support research, but without patients volunteering to take part, much of this research could not go ahead.

If you are a patient at WAHT it is quite possible you may be asked to take part in a research study.

Taking part in a research study is always voluntary and for patients making this decision it is easier if you know which questions to ask. These pages outline the different types of research studies being carried out at WAHT and give a detailed guide to information you might want to know before deciding whether to take part in one of them.

The Research and Development Operational Capability Statement is our operational framework to supply and deliver research. 


View our latest performance metrics.


Taking part in a research study

If you are not currently a patient at WAHT you will not be able to volunteer to take part in a research study here. If you have heard about a WAHT study which you think is relevant to your medical condition you should discuss this with your own doctor who may in certain circumstances be able to make a referral.

You should also bear in mind that there may be medical or other reasons why you are not suitable to take part in a particular study.

If you would like to find out more about research into a particular medical condition you can find contact details of a large number of UK medical research charities at

Whilst under our care you may be invited to participate in some research. For example, when undergoing a routine procedure you may be asked to provide extra tissue or blood samples for use in research. Alternatively, you may be asked to take part in a study that compares one treatment with another to see what is most effective, or you may be asked to complete a questionnaire about your illness or your opinion on how care should be provided.

If you are invited to take part in some research you will usually be given an information sheet explaining the following:

  • What the research is.
  • Why it is needed.
  • What will be expected of you if you participate.
  • The potential risks and benefits to you.
  • Anticipated expenses and re-imbursement.
  • How your identity will be protected.
  • How information about you will be kept anonymous.
  • Who will have access to the information collected.

You should ask as many additional questions as you want and discuss it with family and friends before deciding whether to participate.

If you decide to participate in a research project you will usually be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you are happy to be involved.

Very occasionally a research study using existing medical information is planned. In such situations it may not be feasible to seek consent to use that information e.g. older information. In such circumstances the research will only be allow to happen if:

  • It is clearly in the public interest that the research is done.
  • The information will not be used to make any decisions regarding an individual.
  • There are no practical alternatives.

Information used for research is usually anonymised so that no one can identify an individual from the information. Exceptions to this are only allowed in very special circumstances.

Members of the public who act as partners in the research process can bring a fresh perspective to it. In some instances members of the public have identified areas of research that have not been considered by those 'inside' the research process and have also identified and prioritised issues that are of importance to those for whose benefit the research project is aimed. For example, service users may have a different view of what outcomes are more important to them than a research professional designing a project.



You are under no obligation to participate in any research. If you decide not to take part, it will not affect the rest of your care. If you agree to take part and then change your mind, you are free to do so at any time


Contacting us

We would be very pleased to hear your views. Please contact us with any comments and questions about the information on this site.

Let us know if there is anything you would like to see added or if you have any comments about your own experience of taking part in a research study.



If you have any concerns

If you have any concerns about the study you are taking part in you should consider discussing this with a member of the research team. If you decide that you would rather discuss your concern with someone else you can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). The PALS service has been set up to offer on the spot advice to any patient who has a query, problem or difficulty while being treated at WAHT.


WAHT Complaints procedure

If you want to make a formal complaint about your experience of the research study you should use the WAHT complaints procedure. Please contact the PALS department.