Professor Niro Siriwardena from CaHRU and Dr Adele Langlois from the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Lincoln have been awarded a seed award in humanities and social science from the Wellcome Trust to develop a Network exploring the Ethics of Ambulance Trials (NEAT). Dr Langlois is a social scientist who is an expert in biomedical ethics and governance. The network also includes leading prehospital researchers: Profs Philip Bath (Nottingham University), Jonathan Benger (University of West of England), Gavin Perkins (Warwick), Tom Quinn (University of Surrey), Helen Snooks (Swansea University) and Drs Chris Price (Newcastle University) and Sarah Voss (University of West of England).
Randomised controlled trials in ambulance settings are a relatively recent but growing area of research which poses particular challenges, including urgency of conditions and treatment, and difficulties with recruitment, randomisation and informed consent where time may be limited or patient capacity impaired. NEAT will involve interviews with researchers, health professionals and patients involved in ambulance trials together with the legal and systematic reviews and networking activities bringing together national experts in the ethical issues and design of prehospital clinical trials.
The team seek to raise awareness among researchers, practitioners, ethics committees and the public of developments in the ethics and conduct of ambulance trials and provide the basis for much needed research to inform recommendations for best ethical practice in future trials. Prof Siriwardena and Dr Langlois are currently recruiting a research assistant to join them to work on the study in 2016.