Background: UK Hospital Trusts are charged with increasing patients’ research awareness and willingness to take part in research. This includes implementing strategies to encourage patient-initiated enquiries about participation. Objectives: To evaluate the impact of a research statement inserted in outpatient letters in one clinical service, and to derive suggestions on potential steps towards increasing patient-initiated recruitment. Setting: A medical outpatient clinic of a research-active hospital trust, serving an inner-city multi-ethnic population across two boroughs. Methods: Pre-intervention and post-intervention questionnaires were administered face-to-face to new patients. Questionnaires included closed questions and one open comments section. Data were analysed for frequencies, with thematic coding of open-ended responses. Results: The response rates were 87% for the pre-intervention survey and 92% for the post-intervention survey. In the post-intervention survey, 85% of patients did not notice the research statement in the letter. More than half found the statement “a little unclear,” whilst one-third considered it “clear.” Three-quarters of respondents perceived the statement to be “a little helpful.” Only one person enquired about participating in clinical research having read the statement in the outpatient letter. Conclusion: The analysis suggests that simple, single-solution approaches such as including research statements in outpatient letters are unlikely to be sufficient to significantly facilitate patient-initiated recruitment. Recruitment efforts need to take into consideration the diversity of patient constituencies including the reasons they seek health care, and how patients can meaningfully access information (research literacy).