Published: 14 October 2021
At this week's annual conference of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), the winners of the research awards, run in partnership with the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) and the RCGP, were announced.
The award scheme recognises research-active NHS general practices that are demonstrating excellence and innovation in delivering NIHR CRN research. In addition, there was an award for the First5® GPs who demonstrate an emerging interest and experience in delivering NIHR CRN research within a primary care setting.
The Practice Award winner was a joint submission from the Windrush Medical Practice and the Eynsham Medical Group, both in West Oxfordshire. Together, they created a wider research team at the onset of Covid-19 to participate in pandemic research trials. These included the STOIC and PRINCIPLE trials which have influenced community Covid treatment, and the Janssen ENSEMBLE 2 vaccine trial.
The First5® Award winner was Dr. Rakesh Narendra Modi, from Monkfield Medical Practice, Cambridge. He was recognised for his work on determining how best to screen for atrial fibrillation - which causes a fast and irregular heartbeat - on the SAFER trial, an NIHR portfolio study.
In what has been a particularly challenging 18 months, candidates and applicants were required to outline their contribution to NIHR CRN Portfolio studies during the period from 1 January - 2020 - 30 June 2021.
Within their submissions, applicants had to demonstrate:
- the range and number of patients in NIHR CRN studies in the UK
- how patients have been engaged and informed of new opportunities to participate in CRN clinical research
- the contribution made to the delivery of studies
- innovative methods of study delivery
Comments from the judges
Dr Imran Rafi of the RCGP judging panel said:
"The RCGP/NIHR-CRN awards are a perfect vehicle to shine a light on all the practices, practitioners and patients involved in research sited in primary care. What particularly comes through is the dedication, collaboration and hard work that is necessary to support research. We congratulate all who entered the award process including all the patients consenting to being involved in research. Congratulations to those receiving awards and letters of commendation. Well done!"
Phil Evans, National Specialty Lead for Primary care (NIHR CRN) said:
"We were pleased to see an excellent field of applications for the RCGP/CRN awards this year. This has been a tough year for all of us but it has been important to recognise the amazing overall effort and novel methods that have been used by practices and practitioners in primary care research. These include the support of COVID-19 research and vaccine studies, all delivered at pace and at scale. We are delighted therefore to award the RCGP/CRN Research Practice of the Year and the First 5 GP of the year to colleagues and their teams who have made such an impressive contribution to primary care research in the CRN."
Since its inception in 2006, the NIHR has significantly increased the scale of clinical research in the NHS, particularly through NIHR CRN. The enthusiastic engagement of consultant and trainee doctors is an essential condition for sustaining and building on this success, particularly given the many competing demands on clinician time and resources. These awards aim to recognise outstanding contributions of NHS clinicians to the conduct of NIHR CRN Portfolio research studies.