Qualitative analysis of feasibility of recruitment and retention in a planned randomised controlled trial of a psychosocial cancer intervention within the NHS.
Duncan M., Korszun A., White P., Eva G., SURECAN investigators None.
BACKGROUND: The randomised control trial (RCT) is the most rigorous method of evaluating interventions. Recruitment is often slower and more challenging than expected. The aim of the current paper is to understand the feasibility of recruitment within the NHS and the barriers and motivators to recruitment from the perspective of patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs). METHODS: NHS HCPs were surveyed to establish their willingness to participate. Twenty HCPs were interviewed to establish barriers and motivators to recruitment. Eleven patients were interviewed to understand their willingness to participate. Interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: HCP interviews identified key barriers to recruitment: practical barriers included workload and time; clinical barriers included terminology and concern that the trial implied criticism of their current practice; and patient barriers included gender and cultural factors. Motivators to recruitment included: regular communication between research and clinical teams; feedback on findings; and patient and individual benefits for clinicians. Patient interviews suggested that participation in a trial of a psychosocial intervention would strengthen existing coping skills and develop mechanisms for those who were struggling. CONCLUSIONS: Survey results demonstrated that recruitment to an RCT of a psychosocial intervention for people living with and beyond cancer would be feasible within the NHS if specific barriers are addressed. From a clinician point of view, barriers should be addressed to improve recruitment, particularly training and education of clinicians and clear communication. From a patient perspective, interventions and RCT should be tailored to target those not routinely represented in RCTs.