What do I do if I am interested in doing a piece of research?

There are a number of different kinds of projects involving data collection, research, audit, service evaluation, Quality Improvement (QI) initiatives, case notes studies, student thesis, etcetera.  All of them require formal authorisation from the Trust before participants can be approached or data collected.

The first step is to determine what kind of project you propose to undertake, as different types of projects are subject to different regulations and routes to obtain the appropriate authorization.  The NHS Health Research Authority (HRA) has developed a decision tool to assist you in distinguishing between research, audit, service evaluation and public health surveillance.  Once you know what kind of study you wish to undertake, there is more informaiton below on how to apply for authorization for each.

For projects meeting the definition of research, all research taking place in the NHS must both be assessed by the HRA and receive confirmation from the R&D Office at each proposed NHS site that they have the capacity and capability to support the project before work, including the recruitment of participants, may begin.  This applies to all research conducted in the NHS, including work undertaken by students, and there is currently no 'fast track' process for either HRA or Trust approval. There are, however, certain conditions ELFT applies to all student research projects.  These conditions only apply to projects defined as 'research' - service evaluations, literature reviews and case studies are generally more appropriate designs for a student thesis. 

As of March 2014, ELFT became a noclor partner.  The team at noclor can support research submissions. They will review your draft and identify any areas which need to be amended. There is a guide to the Research Life Cycle which will assist you in all aspects of your project.   All applications to conduct a research project should be submitted through the noclor office and not to the research office at ELFT. 

Applications to the HRA are prepared with the support of your research sponsor; if you wish ELFT to sponsor your project you must contact noclor to arrange this. Only the Trust R&D Office is authorised to sign IRAS forms on behalf of the sponsor.

Where your project falls outside the definition of research, it still requires appropriate approval before participants are recruited and/or data is collected.

Audit

 

All audits undertaken at ELFT are aligned to Trust and directorate assurance priorities, and coordinated by the Trust’s Quality assurance team. We do not encourage or support individuals to undertake isolated audits, as our audit programme is linked to change planning processes in each directorate which are tracked and monitored. For any queries about audit, please contact elft.quality@nhs.net 

 

Quality Improvement (QI)

 

We encourage all staff to be involved in improving the way their team works, through quality improvement. All QI work at ELFT takes place in teams, so we do not support individuals to undertake QI work on their own. There is a process for formal authorisation of QI projects within each directorate – every project is approved by the directorate’s QI forum and has a named project sponsor who is accountable for the work. To find out more about which projects are going on in your directorate/team, and who to contact for support, please visit https://qi.elft.nhs.uk

Service Evaluation / Development

A Service Evaluation provides practical information to help decide whether a development or service should be continued or not. Evaluation also involves making judgements about the value of what is being evaluated. Service evaluations must be submitted to the Trust’s Governance and Ethics Committee for Studies and Evaluations (GECSE).  For these projects, investigators should complete a template Proposal for a Service Evaluation and submit it to elft.gecse@nhs.net 

Literature Review

As a literature review does not contain any data from ELFT sources, it does not require any governance approval from the Trust. If it is linked to a case study, please follow guidance below.

Case Study/Review

Case reports are usually anonymised and there are rarely ethical issues to be considered as long as consent is obtained. However, some journals may require evidence of approval prior to publication. Case Studies which conform to the Trust’s standards (detailed in the Case Study Governance template) do not normally require assessment. However, where the author (or student supervisor) has question about the appropriateness of a proposal and specifically if an exception to Trust standard is being sought, the Case Study Governance template should be completed and submitted to the Trust’s Governance and Ethics Committee for Studies and Evaluations (GECSE) at elft.gecse@nhs.net

Need help developing your idea?

Do you have an idea for a service evaluation or research idea in the early stages? The NIHR Applied Research Collaboraiton runs weekly clinics.  If you'd like to talk to an ARC researcher about developing your idea or collecting your data then sign up through the online support page for a one-to-one slot on Tuesday afternoons.

The Research Design Service (RDS) London also provides help to those preparing research proposals for submission to peer-reviewed funding competitions for applied health or social care research. The advice is provided free of charge and is available through use of online resource and consultations with experts.

Can I meet with you to discuss my research?

As the Trust's research support partner, the team at Noclor can help with your grant application and getting your study set up at ELFT. They will review your draft and identify any areas which need to be amended. There is a guide to the Research Life Cycle which will assist you in all aspects of your project; mandatory training is also provided.

How can I get my research up and running to time and with minimal problems?

If you are new to research in the NHS, or have not set up a project for a while, you may find the thought of getting approvals and setting up you study daunting. The HRA has published information to assist with planning your application for HRA Approval and preparing study documentation

There are a number of training resources available to you providing help completing forms, dealing with ethical issues, and drafting information sheets, etc.

How do I get funding for my study?

Studies at ELFT are funded from external sources, such as:

Our research partner noclor has a finance team, experienced in costing and pricing both commercial and non-commercial research. This team can also draft and review contracts between funding / sponsoring organisations and the research sites.

For further information regarding applying for a research grant, please follow think link.

How do I get patients and the public involved in my study?

Public involvement is defined as research being carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them.  It is an active partnership between patients, carers and members of the public with researchers that influences and shapes research.

When using the term ‘public’ we include patients, potential patients, carers and people who use health and social care services as well as people from specific communities and from organisations that represent people who use services. Also included are people with lived experience of one or more health conditions.

The UK Standards for Public Involvement in Research will help guide you to improve the quality and consistency of the public involvement in your research.

Where can I access journal articles or library services?

The Newcomb Library at Homerton University Hospital offers a library service to all ELFT staff, students and trainees on placement. Their mission is to promote safe, compassionate, effective care by supporting the clinical effectiveness, education, training, professional development and research needs of all library users.

 The services offered include:

  • Enquiry service - Our experienced and friendly Library Team can help you find the information you need
  • Borrowing - Borrow up to 8 books/journals at a time
  • Access to an extensive range of e-resources and e-books (available 24/7, and you don’t even need to visit the library to access them!)
  • Computer facilities - 12 PCs with internet access, scanning, printing
  • Quiet study area
  • Training – sessions to help you make the most of e-resources, develop your research and appraisal skills
  • Document supply - If the article or book you require is not available electronically or held in stock locally, we can acquire it from a network of other health libraries

Please contact the library directly if you have any questions about the library or the services we offer.

Tel: 0208 510 7751
Email:  huh-tr.newcomblibrary@nhs.net  
Website: http://tinyurl.com/NewcombLibrary
Follow: twitter.com/NewcombLibrary

I have ethical approval and have been indemnified by my college/university; can I begin my research project?

No. In order to carry out research within this Trust, you must also obtain NHS Research Ethics Committee approval and the authorisation of the Trust in which the research will take place. As with all research undertaken within the Trust, a senior member of the Trust is required to take overall responsibility for the proper conduct of the study.

I am a student and wish to conduct my master's / doctoral thesis research in the Trust; is there a 'fast track' approval process for small-scale projects?

No. All research conducted in the NHS must conform to the requirements of the Department of Health's Research Governance Framework, including work undertaken by students, and there is currently no 'fast track' process for either ethical or NHS Trust approval.

There are, however, certain conditions the Trust applies to all student research projects.  

What are the rules governing use of patient data in a health care study?

Health and care research should serve the public interest, which means that research sponsors have to demonstrate that their research serves the interests of society as a whole. They do this by following the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research. They also have to have a legal basis for any use of personally-identifiable information.  The Health Research Authority and government departments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales set standards for NHS organisations to make sure they protect your privacy and comply with the law when they are involved in research.

Since I'm a trainee, does the Health Records Policy allow use of service user data in my thesis / case study?

No, it doesn't.  The Trust’s Health Records Policy states, under the heading of Research and Teaching, that “principles of access and confidentiality remain the same and the right of the patient to refuse access to their records should be respected and documented in their notes” (page 9) and under Information Sharing that “Explicit consent is required if identifiable service user information is used in any publication“ (page 8).  This applies to equally to the work of trainees who have to follow the same principles as anyone else on obtaining informed consent.

Whose contact details do I put in the Participant Information Sheet?

The Health Research Authority (HRA) has some excellent guidance on drafting information sheets and consent forms. These documents should always be amended where necessary to reflect local content at each research site. The local contact in our Trust for raising a complaint is the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Who should I name on the Participant Information Sheet as the independent contact point for general advice about taking part in research?

This should also not refer to either the ELFT research office, noclor, or (in this case) the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). Instead, we recommend INVOLVE, a national advisory group, which is funded by and part of the NIHR, supporting greater public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research.

Other contacts for IRAS forms now that ELFT has become a noclor partner:

Where ELFT is the sponsor of a study, the contact on behalf of the sponsor for all correspondence relating to applications for this project (IRAS A4), should be the specific noclor research governance facilitator with whom the study team is working. You should approach noclor at an early stage (before finalising your IRAS dataset).

     Name:
     Title:
     Address: 1st Floor, Bloomsbury Building 
     St Pancras Hospital, 
     4 St Pancras Way, London NW1 0PE. 
     Email: contact.noclor@nhs.net
     Phone:
     Fax: 020 7685 5788

At question A64-1, the Lead Sponsor's contact person (where ELFT is the sponsor) this should be

     Name: Mr Emmanuel Rollings-Kamara
     Organisation: East London Foundation Trust
     Address: 1st Floor, Bloomsbury Building 
     St Pancras Hospital, 
     4 St Pancras Way, London NW1 0PE. 
     Email: sponsor.noclor@nhs.net  
     Phone: 020 3317 3757
     Fax: 020 7685 5788

Regardless of the sponsor, where ELFT is the lead Trust/research site, the details of the lead NHS R&D contact for this research (IRAS A68-1) should also be the specific noclor research governance facilitator with whom the study team is working. You should approach noclor at an early stage (before finalising your IRAS dataset).

     Name:
     Title:
     Address: 1st Floor, Bloomsbury Building 
     St Pancras Hospital
     4 St Pancras Way, London NW1 0PE
     Email: contact.noclor@nhs.net
     Phone:

How do I get an Honorary Contract?

 
Scenario 1: For someone working on a specific study
Option 1a: Researcher already employed by another NHS organisation

To gain needed access to ELFT, the candidate completes this NHS to NHS confirmation of pre-engagement checks form with the assistance of the HR team in her employing NHS Trust, and then sends it to Noclor requesting an NHS to NHS letter of access for ELFT.

To gain access to another NHS provider, the ELFT staff member completes this NHS to NHS confirmation of pre-engagement checks form with the assistance of the ELFT People & Culture team and then sends it to the R&D office of the Trust to which she wants access

Option 1b: Researcher employed by a university, charity, etc.

The candidate completes his Research Passport with the assistance of his substantive employer (details in the Research in the NHS: Human Resource (HR) Good Practice Resource Pack) only once he has completed it, he submits it to the team at Noclor to obtain his “visa” to enter ELFT (i.e., a letter of access).

Scenario 2: The person will be based (full or part-time) with an ELFT team, collaborating across a wide range of studies, for an extended period

The ELFT Placement facilitator/lead/supervisor fully completes a Placement Request Form and sends to elft.placements@nhs.net

The Recruitment Team will assess necessary next steps for that individual (i.e., what checks or references are required) and advise both the applicant and Placement facilitator/lead/supervisor. The remaining process is conducted via ELFT’s on-line recruitment took, Trac. See Placements and Honorary Contracts

How do I pay an individual?

Scenario 1: Pay an ELFT Lived Experience Expert

Follow the Trust’s Service User and Carer Reward and Recognition Policy - Payment by BACS

  • Only applies to current ELFT Service Users and Carers – other individuals (even those with Lived Experience) are paid using scenario 2 or 3.

Contact elft.suc-payments@nhs.net for support

Scenario 2: To pay an individual directly

The person must be put on the ELFT Bank and paid via payroll so appropriate tax and NI can be deducted at source.

  1. The individual should email elft.join-bank@nhs.net to get registered, if they are not already.
  2. You can the book the individual by completing the on-line booking form.

Contact the Recruitment / Bank team for support

Scenario 3: Pay via an invoice from their HMRC-registered business

Set up the business as a supplier and raise a purchase order (PO) for the expected service / contract / invoice. Remember ELFT operates a ‘no PO, no pay’ policy.

Please remember that invoices from an individual (not a company) cannot be accepted at ELFT.

How do I submit an invoice to ELFT?

Invoices should be both addressed and mailed to:

East London NHS Foundation Trust
RWK Payables 6765
Phoenix House
Topcliffe Lane
Wakefield, West Yorkshire
WF3 1WE

The invoice is scanned by NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) who process all our invoices, and then it will be sent electronically for approval. Once approved it goes into the payment run. It is taking approx. 5-10 working days for invoices to be scanned and our payment terms are 30 days from the date of the invoice.

For any queries on invoices or payments please contact NHS SBS directly; contact details can be found at https://www.sbs.nhs.uk/contact-us

More information available in the Policy for Subcontracting and Procurement

How do I claim expenses related to a study?

Scenario 1: For an individual on the ELFT payroll

Follow the Trust’s Expenses Policy and submit an Expenses Claim Form

Interim process during COVID pandemic: If you need to file in a claim form and your manager cannot physically authorise your claim for postal submission

Scenario 2: For an ELFT Lived Experience Expert

Follow the Trust’s Service User and Carer Reward and Recognition Policy - Payment by BACS

  • Only applies to current ELFT Service Users and Carers – other individuals (even those with Lived Experience) are paid using scenario 1 or 3.

Contact elft.suc-payments@nhs.net for support

Scenario 3: Expenses incurred by an individual outside ELFT

Submit a Manual Cheque Request using the on-line form.

  • Please read the policy prior to submitting the form.
  • The form cannot be used to pay invoices (see how to submit an invoice) or reimburse staff expenses.

How do I pay for conference attendance?

Register attendees using the conference provider’s instructions

Travel and accommodation can be booked via Lightning and charged to the appropriate budget

 

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