Do I need NHS REC review?

This decision tool suggests that you do not need NHS REC review, however, you may still require another type of ethics committee review, e.g. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) ethical review.

Researchers in HEIs are advised to check whether, under their institution's policy and internal arrangements, ethical review is required by their HEI research ethics committee.

Exceptionally, the Research Ethics Service may accept an application for review of research at the request of the sponsor, chief investigator or host organisation, where it agrees that the proposal raises material ethical issues. Agreement should be sought from a Senior Operational Manager within the UK Health Departments Research Ethics Service prior to submission of the application.

Requests should be sent by email to HRA Queries Line ( and include: a summary of the research proposal (maximum one page) and explanation of why the project raises significant issues which cannot be managed routinely in accordance with established guidelines and good practice, and requires ethical consideration and advice from an NHS REC.

Researchers requiring further advice (e.g. those not confident with the outcome of this tool) should contact their R&D office or sponsor in the first instance, or the HRA to discuss your study. If contacting the HRA for advice, do this by sending the study protocol, a copy of the previous results page and a summary of the aspects of the decision(s) that you need further advice on to the HRA Queries Line at

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