What happens next?

If you register with us, our friendly recruitment team will call you to discuss the clinical trials currently available. They’ll ask you questions to check that you’re suitable for a trial, so we don’t waste your time. If you’re interested and suitable, the team will give you an appointment for a ‘screening’ visit. They’ll tell you beforehand whether you’ll be screened for a place on a medical trial, or as a reserve in case someone drops out.

During your screening, you’ll have an interview with a doctor, who’ll explain the medical aspects of the trial in more detail.

Telephone check

If you’re interested in taking part in a trial, we can give you information over the phone or by email. We’ll ask you for your age, gender, height and weight, and questions about your smoking habits and general health, to see whether you are suitable.  If so, we’ll invite you in for screening.

Screening

If you’re still interested in taking part, we’ll give you a health questionnaire to fill in. Next, one of our doctors will answer your questions about the study.  If you’re satisfied you know enough about the study, and you decide you want to take part, we’ll ask you to sign a ‘consent form’.  We’ll give you a copy to take away.  We’ll screen you after you’ve signed the consent form.  It usually takes about two hours.  We will:

  • Measure your height and weight;
  • Give you a medical examination, including your blood pressure and pulse rate;
  • Do an ECG (a painless test that records the rhythm of the heart);
  • Take samples of your blood and urine to check you’re healthy;
  • Test you for drugs of abuse, such as cannabis and cocaine, because they might react badly with the new medicine and harm you;
  • Do a pregnancy test, if you’re a woman;
  • test your blood for hepatitis and HIV (AIDS) viruses (we’ll counsel you about these tests before you have them, and explain what would happen if one should be positive);
  • Ask you what foods you won’t eat when you stay on the ward;
  • Ask for a copy of your passport or National Insurance number (if you have one), as proof of your identity; and
  • Give you an appointment card with all the study dates and times.

After your screening

Confirmation

About three or four days after your screening visit, you should ring us on 0208 963 4502 or 0800 783 8792 (Free phone) to find out if all your tests are normal. We’ll tell you whether you have passed or failed your screening. If you fail, it will be for one of the following reasons.

Medical

If something abnormal shows up in your results, one of our doctors will talk to you. They’ll write you a referral letter to your GP, who’ll ensure you receive appropriate medical treatment.

Non-medical

It may be that one of your results excludes you from taking part in the trial, but from a medical point of view you are healthy. For example, your blood pressure may be a little lower than the trial’s criteria, or your body weight might be too low for the trial.

Drops out, or is excluded for medical reasons. When all the volunteers have been dosed with the trial medication – usually the morning after admission – the un-needed reserves are sent home, and are paid according to the hours spent here. As reserves have already passed the screening tests, we’re more likely to offer them a definite place in future groups or in future trials.

Volunteers usually stay on the ward for a few days, but it can sometimes be for a few weeks, depending on the trial. However, even after admission, you’ll have the right to withdraw at any time. You don’t have to give your reason for withdrawing, if you don’t want to.

Admission

Volunteers are usually admitted to our wards the night before the trial starts. All those recruited, including reserves; bring everything required for the duration of the trial.

Facilities

When there aren’t trial procedures, you can chat with other subjects, watch DVDs, play games or read books! Our facility has:

  • Big recreation and dining area.
  • Widescreen TVs with satellite channels (Sky TV).
  • Games consoles.
  • Video recorder and videos.
  • DVD player and DVDs.
  • Computers with free wireless internet access.
  • Board games, such as Monopoly and chess.
  • Pool tables.
  • Secure storage for your belongings.
  • Air-conditioning throughout the wards.

What volunteers tell us

Most volunteers enjoy their time on the ward and say they would take part in another study. Some people have difficulty sleeping here.  It can be a bit noisy on the ward at night, so bring earplugs with you as they might help.  Otherwise, you can catch up on sleep during afternoons when there’s not much going on. Read our volunteer testimonials.