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Improving recruitment to healthcare research studies: clinician judgements explored for opting mental health service users out of the time to change viewpoint survey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Early online date12 Jul 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jul 2017


King's Authors


Background: There are significant challenges across the research pathway, including participant recruitment. This paper aims to explore the impact of clinician recruitment decision-making on sampling for a national mental health survey. Method: Clinical teams in 20 English mental healthcare provider organisations screened caseload lists, opting-out people whom, in their judgement, should not be approached to participate in a survey about stigma and discrimination. The reasons for each individual opted-out were requested. We assess these reasons against study recruitment criteria and investigated the impact of variations in opt-out rates on response rates and study findings. Results: Over 4 years (2009–2012), 37% (28,592 people) of the total eligible sampling frame were excluded. Exclusions comprised three categories: clinical teams did not screen their lists within recruitment period (12,392 people: 44%); protocol-specified exclusions (8364 people: 29%); clinician opt-outs queried by research team (other reasons were given) (7836, 28%). Response rates were influenced by decision-making variations. Conclusions: Large numbers of people were denied the opportunity to choose for themselves whether to participate or not in the Viewpoint Survey. The clinical research community, and their employing organisations, require support to better understand the value of research and best practice for research recruitment.

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