Hazel Thornton, after undergoing routine mammography, was invited to join a clinical trial, but the doubtful quality and inadequate patient information led her to decline. However, it made her realise that, as a lay person, she ought to be an active participant in the quest for progress in healthcare, not a more or less passive recipient of care. In turn, this encouraged her advocacy for public involvement at all stages of the research process, to achieve outcomes that matter to patients.
She has written and presented extensively on this and other health-related topics. She describes herself as an Independent Citizen Advocate for Quality in Research and Healthcare.