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Aim of research:

To evaluate whether testing for cancer can be carried out in a way that the benefits of early diagnosis outweigh the harms, such as over diagnosis, false alarms, costs, anxiety and distress to the patient.

Research need:

The researcher was putting together a post-doctoral fellowship application, for submission to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). If successful, this would provide funding to carry out the proposed research for three years. The researcher wanted to involve patients and the public at the design stage of the research and also to consult with a focus group throughout the duration of the fellowship programme.

At the initial stage, the researcher wanted feedback from the PPI panel on the aims of the study and the application generally, and then specifically on the potential harms from the pathway.  He suggested themes for the discussion ahead of the meeting, but was also keen for the PPI panel to raise additional items that they felt were important.

How PPI was used:

The researcher attended an Oxford PPI panel meeting and presented his research proposal. He then asked pre-set questions to the group and minutes were captured by the group administrator.

How PPI helped the project:

The questions asked were answered from the perspective of the patient and provided information that the researcher had not considered. As a result he was able to submit a stronger proposal for funding.