The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Research Passport - How to Obtain a Honorary Contract or a Letter of Access with LTHT


What is a Research Passport?

The Research Passport brings together in one pack all the employment checks which are required prior to undertaking research in the NHS.

The Research Passport is a validated pack of documents which can be used by researchers external to the NHS to take to NHS Trusts who will then use the pack to give you either:

  • A Research Honorary Contract (HC)
  • A Letter of Access (LoA)

The Research Passport is validated for accuracy and completeness by the first NHS organisation to receive it. The Research Passport does not guarantee you access to an NHS organisation but is the mechanism by which you apply for access.

Who needs a Research Passport?

You need a Research Passport if you will be undertaking research in the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and you do not have a contractual of employment with the NHS.

Who does not need a Research Passport?

You do not need a passport if you have a current substantive contract with the NHS, or if you have a current honorary contract with another NHS Trust.

You will not need a passport if you are a student who will be supervised by an NHS employee (or academic supervisor with a NHS honorary contract).

What types of Research Passport are there?

There are two types of Research passport. One is specific just for the project you are working on (project specific) and the other covers multiple projects but lasts for up to three years (three year passport). For the three year passport, studies must be defined and appended to the document pack and must be agreed with your substantive employer (who will decide if any new checks are needed) and if added to your passport it is validated, you must inform each R&I office.

I am coming to the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to undertake my research project. What do I need to do?

Do you have an existing contract, or honorary contract, with another NHS Trust?

Yes: If you have a contract with the NHS already, then you do not need a Research Passport. However, you will need to complete the NHS to NHS form which is available on the NIHR website. This must be completed by your employer and send this to the R&I Department.

No: If you do not have an employment contract with any other NHS organisation, then you will need a Research Passport.

The Research Passport is issued and completed by your substantive employer. They are responsible for undertaking the Occupational Health, CRB, and qualification checks to the appropriate level. You should contact your HR Department and ask them how to go about getting a Research Passport.

Once you have your Research Passport and supporting documents send these to the R&I Department.

If your study will be carried out in more than one NHS organisation, once you have your Research Passport, you will need to approach the lead NHS Trust to validate it You can the submit the validated Research passport to other NHS Trusts/organisations to which you need access.

Please note that the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Code of Practice prohibits the photocopying of CRB check documents. You will need to bring or send the original CRB which we will check and return to you. Please do not send by e-mail.

My Research Passport is about to expire, how do I renew it?
It is your responsibility to keep the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust R&I Department informed of any changes, for example to your employment status, professional registration status, criminal record etc. Failure to do so may result in termination of your honorary research contract or letter of access.

Research Passports cannot be extended. By nature, they are designed to expire so that any new passport will be complete with new up to date checks.

For a project-specific Research passport, it will be valid for the lifetime of the research project, including any amendments to extend the project.

For a multi-centre research passport, it will be valid for the lifetime of the longest project.

Additions or amendments to studies on a three year research passport need to be countersigned by all relevant R&I offices. You should confirm with your substantive employer whether the amendment/new study requires any additional pre-engagement check or a change from a letter of access to an honorary research contract. For example, this includes extension to the study duration or changes to the patient group being studied.

Please note, the Research Passport does not remove the need for R&I to approve your research project in any NHS Trust.
For further information, visit the NIHR website.