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Covid-19 Coronavirus - Advice for Members

April 19th, 2021

Updated April 2021 

This bulletin gives you our latest advice on navigating the current public health crisis, with a focus on being sensitive to the pressures on healthcare professionals and the NHS at this time.

We have a responsibility to protect all participants (respondents and interviewers) and the reputation of our industry. 

Joint statement from the Chairs of the BHBIA Board, Ethics & Compliance Committee and Fieldwork Forum 

We hope that all our members and associates are staying safe and well, and managing to navigate your businesses through these difficult times, whilst looking forward with optimism to the continued vaccine roll-out and a return to normality. 

New Guidance: Updated 12th April

MRS has updated the suite of MRS guidance interpreting the implications for face-to-face data collection following the various announcements of the easing of restrictions across the four nations of the UK.

The fundamental principle underlying this guidance is that face-to-face data collection will only be undertaken when no other alternative methodology can be used. This principle should be followed until the working from home and social contact messaging evolves.

The BHBIA endorses this guidance and advises our members to follow it.

Specific considerations when working with HCPs

As pressure on the healthcare service recedes, it becomes practical to resume some work with Covid frontline HCPs (By ‘Covid frontline’ we mean HCPs such as intensive care or respiratory specialists, i.e. those who have been under significant additional work pressure).

However, we continue to urge members to take a careful and sensitive approach when approaching any HCPs, via any medium, and to be considerate of their individual needs and priorities.

What about non-HCPs?

On a similar note, the new MRS guidance highlights that research practitioners have a responsibility to protect vulnerable groups, participants and the reputation of the profession. 

With regard to non-HCPs, it would obviously be wise to consider any potential sensitivities/individual circumstances that might warrant a cautious approach.

The BHBIA will continue to monitor government advice and the latest MRS guidance at each stage of the roadmap and we will update this statement accordingly.

We need to stay flexible as the circumstances of individuals or groups may change at any time. 

Paul O'Nions - BHBIA Chairman 

Matt Beckett - Chair, BHBIA Ethics & Compliance Committee 

Adam Irwin - Chair, BHBIA Fieldwork Forum 

Further information

The BHBIA continues to add relevant updates and guidance to our Covid-19 Information and Resources hub. Please keep an eye on this page. It includes many useful resources from other industry associations, in particular the MRS, plus research and trackers conducted by member companies, and is regularly updated.