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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Ethics decision tree

Ethics decision tree

Which ethics committee do I need to apply to?

My study is research! But which Ethics committee do I need to apply to?

Anaesthesia postgraduate teacher with student

1. Are my participants NHS patients?

Yes

No

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2. Are my participants NHS staff? 

Yes

No

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

3. Am I using patient/hospital records for research? 

Yes

No

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

4. Are my participants volunteers/ students/ members of the public (including community groups) recruited through any means outside the NHS? 

Yes

No

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

5. I'm re-analysing data which has already been collected or doing a literature review

Yes

1. Are my participants NHS Patients?

YES: You need to go through the Health Research Authority (HRA) for ethics and R&D approval. You will need to fill in an IRAS form, with details of the R&D representative from the trusts where you want to carry out the research. Allow 3-6 months for the whole process.You will need a study sponsor (see sponsorship page).

You should complete the Information Governance training around use of NHS data which is available on the module 404 area of studentcentral. 

 

2. Are my participants NHS Staff

YES: You need to go through the HRA for NHS R&D approval only. You will need to fill in an IRAS form, with details of the R&D representative from the trusts where you want to carry out the research. Allow 3-6 months for the whole process. You will need a study sponsor (see our sponsorship page).

You should complete the Information Governance training around use of NHS data which is available on the module 404 area of studentcentral. 

 

3. Am I using patient/hospital records for Research?

YES: Identifiable patient records can only be used by those in a direct clinical care relationship with the patient. For secondary uses (including research), all patient identifiers must be removed. Ethics permission is not needed unless you need to take identifiable patient data out of the clinical care environment or team (e.g. for linking). 

If you need to do this you need to either seek patient consent (go back to question 1, HRA application needed) or seek approval through the NHS Confidentiality Advisory Group.

We would not advise going down this route for an IRP project. 

You should complete the Information Governance training around use of NHS data which is available on the module 404 area of studentcentral.

 

4. Are my participants volunteers/students/members of the public (including community groups) recruited through any means outside the NHS?

YES: You should apply for ethics permission through BSMS RGEC. Online applications are made through sussexdirect on the Sussex staff pages. You will need to book a slot for a committee meeting, and submit all study documents online three weeks before the meeting. Allow three months for the whole process. 

 

5. I'm re-analysing data which has already been collected or doing a literature review

YES: You don’t need any ethics approvals. See here (hyperlink) for sources of data which are freely available for research.