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Can you help us to keep public and patients safer?

I’ve been a member of VOICE from the start and I know how much members can contribute to research projects and how much your advice is valued by researchers.

I’ve been involved with many of you on a range of projects over the years and now I’m offering you an exciting opportunity to get involved in a major research project.

I am chair of the Public and Patient Involvement and Engagement Steering Committee for the project which is investigating aspects of health protection such as the effects of exposure to chemicals or radiation on peoples’ health. Several lay people are embedded in the teams working on the project and we all contribute eg by asking questions, commenting on ethical issues and advising on communications.

Some of you may remember a Research Matters event in 2015 when we asked for your advice at the beginning of the project. You gave us lots of good ideas as well as helping us understand the issues that you were concerned about.

Starting in February we’ll be running regular activities on the VOICE website to involve and engage more people and tell you about what has happened since then. Everyone will have the opportunity give comments and views on the emerging results and help us design the next phase of the project.

Health protection is about balancing risks – for example in evaluating new treatments, using pesticides in the home or taking lifestyle risks. We aren’t always logical in our attitude to risk. The risks of over exposure to sun are well publicised but many people still use sunbeds or spend long days on the beach with inadequate protection. People take novel psychoactive substances despite the all too regular reports of tragic deaths, usually of young people.   

And how careful are you at reading and following the instructions eg on pesticides, including those for use on pets? Do you know what is in household products that  have been lurking at the back of your cupboard for years? Do you trust the information you are given about the way to use the product or do you believe that it won’t happen to me?

The topics are of great public interest and we need to understand what you think. Does the research cover issues you are concerned about? How can the results be presented? What should we investigate further?

Please click on this link http://www.ncl.ac.uk/hpru/engagement/ and read all about it and how you can help. We welcome your comments and questions.

And look out for an invitation to an event on Tuesday 27 February 2018 to hear more about the results so far and have the opportunity to contribute your comments and views.    

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Pamela Denham
Voice North member

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