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Pensioner backs volunteering campaign by sharing his journey into health research

A retired chemist from Nottingham is supporting a campaign aimed at getting more people involved in research by sharing how he volunteered “to give back” after having a stroke.

Dr Fred Higton has backed the National Institute Health and Care Research’s (NIHR) ‘Be Part of Research Campaign’ to highlight the benefits of patient involvement within health research.

He became a research volunteer in 2011 to do his bit for the NHS after he received life-saving treatment when he suffered a stroke.

Dr Higton is a member of the Community Voices Panel and Board organised by NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands and is now encouraging more people to join.

He said: “It is vital that we recruit more patient representatives to be involved with local health research. Having patients involved is crucial because otherwise research reports can be too academic and theoretical, making it harder for the public to understand.”

He added: “Being a PPIE representative is challenging, but it is also so rewarding as I help leading academics tackle the health problems that are facing our community. After recovering from a stroke, I wanted to give back to the community and the NHS after they saved my life.”

The Be Part of Research campaign is currently underway, with volunteers sharing how they got involved with health research. The NIHR is the research partner of the NHS, public health and social care.

Taking place from May 16 to 29, the aim of the campaign is to encourage local people to take part in research studies. It will coincide with International Clinical Trials Day, which will take place on May 20.

Professor Kamlesh Khunti CBE, Director of NIHR ARC East Midlands and the Centre for Ethnic Health Research, said: “This campaign raises awareness and shines a light on the significance of patient involvement within health research. Without volunteers, we would struggle to carry out meaningful co-production of evidence-based health research that is important to them, so it is important that we highlight how valuable they are.”

He added: “This campaign gives us a chance to recognise and celebrate all of the amazing research volunteers across the East Midlands.”

NIHR ARC East Midlands funds vital work to tackle the region’s health and care priorities by speeding up the adoption of research onto the frontline of health and social care. The organisation puts in place evidence-based innovations which seek to drive up standards of care and save time and money.

NIHR ARC East Midlands is hosted by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and works in collaboration with the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network. It has bases at University of Leicester and University of Nottingham.

To find out more about becoming a research volunteer, click here

Published on: 16 May 2022