Research Passports – forms

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A Research Passport is the mechanism for non-NHS staff to obtain an Honorary Research Contract or Letter of Access (LOA) when they propose to carry out research in the NHS.

The Research Passport system provides:

  • One set of checks on a researcher conducting research in the NHS.
  • One standard form completed by the researcher and his/her employer, and validated by an NHS organisation.
  • A completed Research Passport which is presented to all the relevant NHS organisations.
  • Faster study start-up

You will need to apply for a Research Passport if you:

  • Will have a direct impact on patient care, for example, providing prevention, diagnosis or treatment of illness.
  • Will have access to identifiable patient information.
  • Will have indirect contact with patients/service users whose research has a direct bearing on the quality of their care, for example, some types of telephone interviews.
  • Wish to access ‘with consent’ identifiable patient data, tissues or organs with likely direct bearing on the quality of their care (with likely impact on prevention, diagnosis or treatment).

You will not need a Research Passport if:

  • You are employed by an NHS organisation.
  • You are an independent contractor (eg GP) or employed by an independent contractor.
  • You have an honorary clinical contract with an NHS Trust (eg clinical academics). In this situation if you wanted to research in another NHS Trust, you would need to apply to its R+D Department directly for a Letter of Access (LOA)
  • You are a student on a healthcare placement.

NHS employees

If you are employed by an NHS trust other than the one where you wish to carry out research, an NHS to NHS pro-forma should be completed by the employing Trust’s HR department. This will confirm you have had the necessary checks prior to employment (CRB check, Occupational Health clearance and employment checks). This should then be submitted to the R+D Department where the research is being conducted who will issue a Letter of Access (LOA).

For further information please contact

NHS to NHS confirmation of pre-engagement checks

Research Passport Form v4.0 April 2019


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