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Consent and assent

To take part in a research study or trial we must have your assent and / or consent. This is a legal requirement.

If you are under 16

If you are under 16 a member of the research team will ask you to ‘assent’, or agree to take part in the study. Before you assent you should read the information sheet that you are given very carefully.

You do not have to assent to take part in the study. If you feel like you are being forced to do so, you should tell your family or a member of the study team.

If you are under the age of 16, your parent or legal guardian will also be asked if they agree to you taking part in the study. This is known as parental or legal guardian consent. They will receive their own version of the research study's information sheet and be asked to complete the consent form.

If you are under 16 and do not want to take part in a study your wishes should be respected even if your parent or legal guardian has consented to you taking part.

You can change your mind at any time without it affecting your care.

If you are over 16

If you are over 16 a research team will ask you to ‘consent’ to taking part in the study. Before you consent, you should read the information sheet that you are given very carefully.

You do not have to consent to take part in the study. No one is allowed to force you to consent. If you feel like you are being forced to, you should tell your family or a member of the study team.

If you are over the age of 16 you will be asked to consent because by law you are considered to be able to make decisions about your own healthcare. If you are 16 (or older), your parents or guardians will not be asked to agree for you taking part in the study. The decision to take part is entirely up to you.

Why am I being asked to assent / consent?

You are being asked to assent or consent because the government says that every person on a research study must have freely agreed to take part. This means that you have the right to say no and that your decision must be respected.

Do I have to be in a study?

No, you do not have to be in a study if you don’t want to. If you don’t want to take part you should tell your family or someone in the research team.

If the study is testing a new medicine or way of treating you, the doctor will talk to you about what other options you have and how they compare to those available in the study. 

Why do people want me to be in the study?

Sometimes people will want you to be in a study because they think it is the best thing for you or that you may be interested in it.

If someone asks you to take part in a study you can ask them why they think you should be in it. But remember, you can always say no and you can always ask what your other options are.

©  Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.
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