Research Passports

The NHS Research Passport is the mechanism for getting an honorary research contract or a letter of access to undertake research involving the NHS. The lead NHS Trust for your study will decide what pre-engagement checks you need including occupational health and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS/CRB), which will depend on the type of contact you will have with patients. Further guidance is available under Useful links.

The Research Passport form and lots of current information including a useful algorithm to ascertain what approvals you need can be found at: http://www.nihr.ac.uk/about-us/CCF/policy-and-standards/research-passports.htm.

The Research Passport is about checking the researcher not the project itself; so once you have your passport issued by the lead NHS Trust it should be generally acceptable to other Trusts for a period of 3 years. Duplicate checks should not be required provided the work is similar. You must provide details of each project on the Research Passport form.

If you require a renewal after three years, you will be required to undertake the checks again, e.g. DBS, occupational health (if required) etc as part of the research passport application.

What do I need to do?

You will need to complete a Research Passport form to conduct research in an NHS Trust. The Research Passport form is completed by the researcher. For staff this form needs to be signed by your line manager or Head of School. It also needs completing and signing by the Human Resources Manager for your Faculty (see HR contacts) and, if deemed necessary by the lead NHS Trust, a University Occupational Health Adviser.

The Research Passport form needs signing by your supervisor, and completing and signing by your Faculty Office. In addition, if necessary, it should be signed by the lead NHS Trust and a University Occupational Health Adviser. If your supervisor has a contractual relationship with the NHS you may not need a passport and it is worth checking this with the lead NHS Trust before completing the form.

You will not need additional honorary research contracts/research passports to conduct research in other NHS organisations. NHS organisations should accept the 'NHS to NHS confirmation of pre-engagement checks' form from the researcher's substantive employer (for University staff this is your Faculty Human Resources Manager) as evidence that the appropriate clearances are in place. This will allow the NHS Trust to issue a letter of access to you.

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