A UK poll has found that 88% of respondents believe that it is important that health and social care trials include a diverse range of participants.

The poll, which was commissioned by the Health Research Authority (HRA) and carried out by market research company YouGov, found that nine in ten people thought diversity in clinical trials was important, with 76% saying that it was still important even if recruiting more diverse participants cost more money, and 74% agreeing even if it slows down the research process.

The study also found that more than half of all respondents (52%) said that they would have more confidence in the results of clinical trials run by privately funded firms if the study included a diverse mix of participants.

It also found that 30% of respondents who identified as black were not confident that they would be well looked after if they took part in health or social care research, whilst only 18% of respondents who identified as white felt the same way.

Matt Westmore, chief executive at the HRA, said: “We commissioned this survey to better understand the public’s attitudes towards health and social care research and to identify what matters to them so that we can make it easier to do research that people can trust. The results tell us that there is strong public support for diversity in research and that this can help build the public’s confidence and trust in health research.”

The report was commissioned following the UK Government’s response to the Lord James O’Shaughnessy review into the current state of clinical trials in the country. The review made a series of recommendations to ensure the UK clinical trials sector remains competitive with its US and EU contemporaries.

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By GlobalData

Among some of the recommendations in the report, O’Shaughnessy urged life science companies to ensure trial cohorts are as diverse as possible to prove their medicines are effective and consistent across all ethnicities and backgrounds.

Commenting on the YouGov poll, O’Shaughnessy said: “As I highlighted in my review into commercial clinical trials, as well as increasing our research footprint we need to make sure that everyone – and in particular disadvantaged or marginalised groups – have the chance to benefit. I welcome the HRA’s research, which shows strong public support for this approach and that improving trial diversity will increase trust in research.”

The poll also found that over half of respondents (55%) felt that involving the public in how healthcare findings are communicated would improve public confidence in clinical trials. It also detailed how 65% felt that adding a trial to a publicly accessible database before it is started would similarly improve public trust.

Previously, Clinical Trials Arena sat down with O’Shaughnessy to discuss the impact of his report as it revealed that the UK’s ranking in terms of launching clinical trials had dropped from fourth place globally to tenth place within five years.

Responding to the O’Shaughnessy report, the UK’s newest health and social care minister Victoria Atkins vowed that work was being done to address the slide in UK clinical trials but that the situation would take time to be fully resolved.

It also follows after UK’s Chancellor for the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt pledged £520m ($652m) for life sciences funding as part of the ‘Our Future Health’ initiative, which also includes £20m ($25m) for dementia research.