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Paramedic practitioners conducting research in primary care

Date: 23 April 2018

Across the UK, general practices are seeing an increase in the number of allied healthcare professionals helping to facilitate research in primary care environments. Wessex paramedic, Andy Claxton, is currently one of five paramedics working with the Vine Medical Group, based in Waterlooville, Hampshire, to support with research.

Andy and his paramedic and nursing colleagues work together as part of a Same Day Care Team seeing on the day cases and completing home visits among many other aspects to their role. Here, Andy explains how his role is helping to facilitate research in primary care:

“I have been working as a primary care paramedic at Vine Medical Group (previously Forest End Surgery) for the last three years,” explains Andy. “Paramedics in primary care are a relatively new idea. With no specific parameters or roles currently defined, there is greater potential scope of practice and availability for development of that scope. Training and experience levels vary greatly between paramedics and this variety means there can be a vast scope of potential roles and activities completed on a daily basis by “Paramedic Practitioners”.

“The Vine Medical Group is currently set across four sites; Forest End, Stakes Lodge, Waterbrook and Waterlooville Health Centre. Currently, we have approximately 27,200 patients from varying socio-economic backgrounds. At Vine Medical Group, we run two types of appointment; routine and Same Day Care (SDC). Working as a combined nursing, GP, HCA and paramedic team we manage to see significant numbers of patients per session, with the healthcare assistant completing initial observations and then passing on to the nurse or paramedic. The GP maintains a consultant type position as supervisor for a position in our reception HUB.

 “My role has been ever changing and evolving at Vine Medical Group. Currently, I am involved in seeing patients in SDC clinics and at home visits. I perform specialist health checks and reviews and have been interested in and a part of the research team from an early stage. In the last few months, with the pending retirement of our senior research nurse, I have taken on further roles and leadership within the research structure.

“There is a vast range of conditions and complaints that can be seen and treated by the SDC team, including minor injury and illness, abdominal pains, chest pain, tiredness and headache. Due to the clinical support from a GP, prescribing and complex cases are easily completed via a discussion or handover of care; there are also other GPs in the SDC team who have their own patient lists but are available for support should they be required. The level of support and vast number of patient appointments supplied along with the variety of clinical expertise available via the SDC team makes it a perfect storm of research recruitment potential.

“Most SDC members (excluding GPs) are trained in Good Clinical Practice (GCP) allowing them to recruit opportunistically in the SDC sessions. With use of Emis web protocols and the surgery developed protocols we maximise the screening potential and try to increase awareness of ongoing research studies. I work closely with a Nurse Practitioner as SDC clinical research lead and will have meetings with reception staff to ensure organisational coverage. We try to maximise the numbers of patients screened by having reception staff asking some early screening questions then if eligible, adding patients to the telephone triage screen. From there GCP trained clinicians are able to further screen the patients and discuss potential research projects with them. If they are willing to participate they can be booked into SDC research slots (or slots with adequate time for recruitment) to complete final screening and hopefully recruitment and consenting. If a study requires a GP to determine eligibility I can call upon the HUB GP to come and further assess/screen the patient, this will maximise efficiency of GP and clinician time and hopefully provide a smooth patient experience.

“The high level of screening means that patients are aware that they are attending an appointment with a potential for recruitment and are allocated sufficient time to avoid rushing or delaying clinics. Patients can also collect study relevant information as they book in for their appointment allowing them to be prepared with any questions or concerns they may have regarding the study; including being able to inform the clinician of their desire not to take part at an early stage of the consultation. We find that this process, when used correctly, can have a significant impact on numbers of recruited patients, along with reduced times required to recruit.”

  • Summary:
    Across the UK, general practices are seeing an increase in the number of allied healthcare professionals helping to facilitate research in primary care environments. Wessex paramedic, Andy Claxton, is currently one of five paramedics working with the Vine Medical Group, based in Waterlooville, Hampshire, to support with research.
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    Wessex
  • Year of publication:
    2018
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