Involving London

Margaret Pyke Centre Sexual & Reproductive Health Research and Innovation Forum - UCL

The UCL Institute of Women’s Health Reproductive Health research team is based at Margaret Pyke Centre in Charlotte Street which has a long tradition of research in reproductive sexual health and contraception:
We identified the need to develop a patient/public participation group to benefit our contraception & reproductive sexual health research and improve dissemination and communication of study outcomes to a wider public audience. The involvement of local community groups and service users from the Margaret Pyke Centre (NHS Camden Provider Services) has meant that our patient group has developed with a wider membership into a Research & Innovation Forum. The forum was enabled by initial funding from a UCL Public Engagement Beacon Bursary. There has been much interest in the project from both existing patients involved in research studies, from patients using the services at Margaret Pyke Centres and from local community groups.
The benefit of the input and views of service users when developing research proposals is well established and acknowledged within funding applications. The involvement of the forum allows members to give their opinions, suggestions and constructive criticism on research studies and to shape our research to be relevant to their needs. The forum also enables review of information given to patients such as information sheets and consent forms to ensure that they are clear and easy to understand for the lay person. In clinical trials the group can advise on the acceptability of study procedures. The forum therefore has the potential to make an impact by helping develop research and improve health care practices. Advice from the group on how best to disseminate research study findings will encourage better communication of results to general and targeted audiences.
Making links with community organisations that represent seldom heard groups allows partnership between health professionals, researchers and the groups whose women have particular health care needs. It is hoped that the work of the group will also inform the development of new services for the local population ensuring services are relevant, focussed and friendly.
Currently the project includes forty lay members and representatives from local community organisations. It is envisaged that eventually the group will be chaired and run by lay members. The project also forms part of a larger initiative within the Women’s Health programme of UCL Partners to engage more effectively with women in co-designing research and co-developing services improvements.