A new statement emphasising the value of consumer involvement in health and medical research has been released for public consultation.
The draft Statement on Consumer Involvement in Health and Medical Research was jointly written by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Consumers Health Forum of Australia, and is an update of a version released in 2002, Statement on Consumer and Community Participation in Health and Medical Research and its companion Summary Statement.
The statement provides advice on how institutions and researchers can ensure their research is as inclusive as possible of consumers, as well as informing consumers of how they can become more involved in research.
While the underlying principles of the previous document have been retained, the new draft streamlines the advice, making it clearer and more accessible.
NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson emphasised the importance of consumer participation and community engagement in research.
‘Health and medical research is conducted for the benefit of all people, so to ensure that research is relevant and sensitive to the needs of the public, we need to ensure that consumers and the community are involved,’ Professor Anderson said.
‘This involvement goes beyond consumers participating as subjects of research – we value their input into what research we should prioritise and how research can be best conducted.’
Adam Stankevicius, CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, said, ‘Consumers and patients have the most at stake when it comes to medical research and its implications for treatment.
‘Too often this can be forgotten in the pursuit of medical knowledge. Yet well-informed consumers can make a significant contribution to research through involvement in the design of research, participation in clinical trials and advising on implementation of research findings.’
Public consultation on the draft Statement on Consumer Involvement in Health and Medical Research closes on 19 September at 5:00pm (AEST). To make a submission, visit the NHMRC Public Consultations website.