Research in primary care is fundamental to wider research delivery and patient care. Our Primary Care Strategy and Programme will equip researchers and healthcare professionals to deliver research in primary care and lead to improved outcomes for patients.
Primary Care Strategy
Aims of the programme
We aim to:
- allow everyone to access and benefit from health and care research
- make research ‘business as usual’ in a primary care setting and integrate with other systems
- increase the range of research opportunities available in the CRN portfolio, to meet the needs of different people
- contribute to an overall increase in research activity across the health and care sector
Delivery of the Primary Care Programme
We are delivering the strategy through a number of projects.
Primary care research experts are involved to make sure the projects are relevant, innovative, and will support the primary care workforce.
Each of the projects are linked to four key themes within the strategy:
- Theme A: Research is available and responsive to the health and care needs of our population
- Theme B: Digital: Adaptive connection of research systems and processes to Primary Care systems
- Theme C: Strategic engagement and incentivisation
- Theme D: Strategic development of the Primary Care Research Workforce
We have sub groups in place to deliver projects which fit into each of these themes.
To find out more or get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
View the timeline of primary care research milestones and projects:
Scroll down to browse current projects or click on the link you are interested in:
In February 2023, we held a learning event to showcase how primary settings can help deliver research.
We developed a learning module on NIHR Learn. It provides the opportunity to hear how a range of medical specialities are accelerating research activities by drawing upon the primary care setting.
We found a discrepancy in the allocation of funding to primary care so the Baseline Funding Survey was launched in April 2022.
Results show that the current way of gathering data to describe primary care funding allocations is inaccurate. On average, it underestimates the total allocation per LCRN by 1.58%. This results in a figure of £15,363,505, as opposed to the final figure of £19,933,236.
To make further improvements we will:
- carry out this survey annually
- review research incentivisation schemes to define the variation in primary care support available
- introduce minimum spend categories for primary care funding
For a PDF copy of the Baseline Funding Report, please email email@example.com
We reviewed the current Higher Level Objectives (HLOs) in place for primary care. This had been identified as an area of concern during the development of the strategy. It is a key priority to resolve.
Four areas were identified to explore in more detail:
- invitation to research/ research activity
- participant identification centres
CRN Coordinating Centre Executive approved the final recommendation report in October 2022. To receive a full copy please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Provider Participation metrics are not included for new HLOs for 2023/24 as they don’t accurately reflect research in primary care. This makes it hard to demonstrate and encourage research .
During the pandemic, the need for primary care delivery of COVID-19 studies gradually increased.
We recognised that running research trials with patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in the community were increasingly important.
This included identifying patients with long COVID, who were mostly in primary care.
The Quality Improvement: Implementing the Learning from COVID-19 Studies in Primary Care project is reflecting on learning from COVID-19 studies. It focuses on increasing efficiency and effectiveness.
Find out more about our response to the pandemic:
- we set up the record-breaking PANORAMIC study to test novel oral antivirals in a primary care setting. Find out more about PANORAMIC or take a look at our case study from a trial participant.
- the PRINCIPLE trial was the first study to test potential treatments for COVID-19 through GP surgeries and in the community. Take a look at our PRINCIPLE case study
This project aims to improve processes to make them more efficient. It will make research more accessible to healthcare professionals and members of the public.
Work underway includes:
- research coding in primary care
- data opt-out and research participation
- IT Challenges in primary care study delivery4
Primary Care Research Informatics & Digital Environment Solutions (PRIDES) aims to standardise IT development and sharing processes that are essential for complex studies delivered in primary care settings.
The PRIDES service offers researchers and GP practices support and advice on how best to use digital solutions to deliver studies in primary care settings. We work with key stakeholders to support the development of research solutions and tools in GP practices.
Find out how this service can help you on the PRIDES website
We have made improvements to our ICT to standardise indirect costs at 70% and improve its accuracy for use in primary care.
Find out more about the Primary Care functionality updates to the interactive Costing Tool (iCT)
We have planned more improvements. These include:
- Patient Identification Centre (PIC) funding
- becoming part of the National Contract Value Review (NCVR) process
The Commercial Costing Reference Group approved a tiered costing model in March 2023. This marks an important structural change for primary care.
Participant Identification Centres (PICs) are NHS/HSC organisations that identify potential research participants. The PIC project focuses on introducing standard reporting within the Central Portfolio Management System (via Local Portfolio Management Systems). It initially concentrates on data integrity held within the systems.
The aim of the project is to address the fact that primary care is currently under-represented in commercial research as a delivery setting.
We are forming a Commercial Advisory Group to advise on the lessons learnt from working with primary care sites or PICs. If you would like to be involved or find out more about our industry offer, please contact email@example.com
We are working with NHS England to add research to the GP contract. We are also aiming to incentivise GPs to introduce Be Part of Research to their patients.
We aim to launch a pilot incentivisation scheme by September 2023.
Get in touch
Fill in this online form to share your primary care activities or ask any questions.
We can also share resources, including slide sets about the strategy.