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National award honours NHS primary care research pioneers in Sussex

Date: 31 October 2016

Staff at Park surgery

From the back left: Dr Lesley Sherrington, Dr Aylin Ergene, Dr Cathie Shipton (PhD) Paula Salerno, Practice Manager, Dr Thevarajah Loganathan
Nurse Lois Sheldon
From the front left:nNurse Chris Williams, Dr Liz Fisher, Nurse Yvonne Pigott.


Park Surgery in Horsham has been awarded Highly Commended in national research awards run by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

These research awards, for members of the College, recognise research active NHS GPs and general practices that are demonstrating excellence and innovation in delivering NIHR research. The NIHR is the research arm of the NHS and the Clinical Research Network for Kent, Surrey and Sussex works with partners including hospital Trusts (acute, community and mental health) GP surgeries, pharmacies, and other healthcare providers across the region to support the setup and timely delivery of studies in the NHS.

It is important for research to take place in primary care in order for patients to receive improved treatment, diagnoses methods and services and to improve and prevent disease as well as manage conditions, where the majority of patient contacts take place.

Dr Liz Fisher, has spearhead research at Park Surgery said:

“We are really pleased to be awarded Highly Commended as it is an honour for the College to recognise the hard work we have put into giving our patients the opportunity to take part in research studies”.

“I believe that in primary care, research is seen as an add-on but the College encourages the idea that research should not be separate from day to day care given to patients by their GP”.

The enthusiastic engagement of NHS staff is an essential for sustaining and building on research success; particularly given the many competing demands on clinician time and resources.

“We enjoy working at the forefront of clinical research looking for new and better ways of managing conditions and, although it is a lot of extra work, we really are helping our patients as well as those in the rest of the UK”.

 Although Liz champions research taking place at Park Surgery, she works within a team who are dedicated to enabling research to happen. The team includes many doctors, nurses, administrators and the practice manager.

Dr Cathie Shipton who now leads on research at Park Surgery said:

“Most people we approach are pleased to participate and, many see it as a way to give something back, to benefit those patients to come. I also find being involved in research fulfilling”.

 Research is widely promoted at the practice and patients receive a newsletter which includes regular promotion of research. They also use a unique recruitment strategy to target the large commuter population by running dedicated recruitment slots at evenings and on Saturdays.

The team’s most innovative way of engaging patients in primary care research at the practice were their use of Saturday morning ‘coffee mornings’ for patients interested in the SNIFS study, who had been targeted due to their previous medical history of sinusitis and were invited to a short presentation about the study. The patients discussed the study and their concerns and expectations. Those who wished to take part were then given the opportunity to sign up with a study GP and those waiting chatted with coffee”.

 Liz goes on to explain that:

“We are passionate about patient engagement and have used our summer 2016 Friends of Park Surgery (FOPS) newsletter to highlight current studies and opportunities. Our practice manager is key in liaising with the FOPS. We also have a new updated notice board solely for improving awareness to research located in the main waiting area”.

These sessions were well received and now the study results are out Liz plans to organize a ‘results’ session to empower others to take part.

Professor Gordon Ferns, Clinical Director of the Clinical Research Network Kent, Surrey and Sussex said:

“We are very proud of Park Surgery and their innovative and dynamic methods of increasing recruitment; excellent examples of engagement with their patients, and firmly embedding research within the culture of their practice. All of their hard work is for the benefit of their around 24,000 patients”. 

Liz, Cathie and the whole team at Park Surgery would like to thank all of their many patients who have agreed to be involved in the research they carry out.

  • Summary:
    Park Surgery in Horsham has been awarded Highly Commended in national research awards run by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).
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    Kent, Surrey and Sussex
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    Primary Care
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