The NCRI Consumer Forum: recruitment update
NCRI regularly recruits new consumer members to participate in its activities. Consumer involvement ensures that the voice of patients, carers and others affected by cancer can shape our activities. New membership ensures our consumer representation is relevant and bringing a fresh outlook. NCRI Consumer Lead, Richard Stephens, provides an update on the latest round of consumer recruitment.
The purpose of the NCRI Consumer Forum is to foster a vibrant and collaborative community to work with NCRI as partners in cancer research; exchanging knowledge and expertise in a coordinated way. In terms of recruitment, this means that all new consumer recruits need a high level of skills, experience and knowledge.
Recruitment takes places regularly and we most recently recruited for new consumers to participate in the NCRI Clinical Studies Groups (CSGs). We aim for two consumers to participate in each of the 19 CSGs and in the last recruitment round over 80% of the vacancies were filled. This is a high success rate in view of the standards required, especially in what are sometimes fairly small patient populations. Vacancies for consumers on NCRI’s CTRad workstreams and on the NCRI Cancer Conference Scientific Committee have also been filled.
A sustainable recruitment model
Unsuccessful applicants are given advice and support too. For example some may be guided to their Local Clinical Research Network Patient and Public Involvement Lead, perhaps to join a local group or to become a Patient Research Ambassador in their local NHS Trust. Others may be pointed to specific research funding organisations (including NCRI Partners), and where resources allow and circumstances are appropriate, some are invited to join CSG sub-groups and the Consumer Forum. This not only supports the work of the relevant groups, but also helps move to a more sustainable model for recruiting, developing and sharing knowledge and expertise.
Retaining skills and expertise
There are currently 83 members of the NCRI Consumer Forum and this is likely to rise towards 100 as consumers end their NCRI roles but remain active in research, for example working with NCRI Partners or in Local Clinical Research Networks or other local groups, and consumers who finish a term on a CSG are encouraged to move to other CSGs, or to other roles with NCRI (e.g. from a CSG to CTRad). This enables the NCRI to retain and accumulate the expertise and skills of long-serving consumers as well as bringing in new ideas and fresh talents.