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Research campaigns in the UK National Health Service: patient recruitment and questions of valuation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Matthias WienrothORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Wiley-Blackwell, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) aims to improve national “health and wealth” by providing infrastructural support to enable clinical research in National Health Service (NHS) settings in England and Wales. Cognisant of the consequences of studies’ failure to achieve required numbers of participants, it also actively campaigns to promote patient awareness of research, and willingness to participate in trials. In this paper we analyse recent NIHR campaigns and policies designed to encourage patients to participate in clinical research to interrogate how they are implicated in the national bioeconomy. In doing so we expand the notion of ‘clinical labour’ to include the work of patient recruitment and highlight an emergent obligation on patients to contribute to research processes. Whereas once patient knowledge and experience may have been devalued, here we draw on the concept of ‘assetization’ (Birch 2017) to explore the emergent relationship between healthcare system and patient as research participant. We consider how patients’ contribution goes beyond the provision of standardised objects of valuation so that patients themselves may be perceived as assets to, not only recipients of, the national healthcare system.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wienroth M, Pearce C, McKevitt C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sociology of Health and Illness

Year: 2019

Volume: 41

Issue: 7

Pages: 1444-1461

Print publication date: 01/09/2019

Online publication date: 22/05/2019

Acceptance date: 29/04/2019

Date deposited: 30/04/2019

ISSN (print): 0141-9889

ISSN (electronic): 1467-9566

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/1467-9566.12957


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