The number of patients participating in primary care-focused research has doubled from last year, according to figures published in October by the National Institute for Clinical Research (NIHR), Primary Care Research Network (PCRN).
In 2011-12 almost 129,000 (1) patients took part in research led by the Primary Care Research Network, compared to just over 63,000 (2) in 2010-11.
The Primary Care Research Network supports high quality research in areas for which primary care has particular responsibility. These include disease prevention, health promotion, screening and early diagnosis, as well as the management of long-term conditions, such as arthritis and heart disease.
Paul Wallace, director of the Primary Care Research Network, believes the Network has played a significant role in facilitating this increase:
“To date almost 7,000 primary care sites in England have helped us to deliver research. That includes around 5,500 general practices, which is around 65 per cent of the total number of general practices in England. This means that more and more patients are being given the opportunity to take part in research that is of specific relevance to primary care, and since around 90 per cent of NHS patient contacts take place in primary care, it's critically important to have a strong evidence base to inform practice in this area.”
The Primary Care Research Network also helps to support research that takes place in secondary care. Says Paul Wallace:
“In England we are quite unique in that we have a joined-up Clinical Research Network. Our focus is in primary care where many long-term conditions are managed, but we also help to find and recruit suitable patients for studies that are taking place at hospitals. This helps researchers to answer important secondary care research questions as well as opening up further opportunities for primary care patients to take part in research.”
The total number of patients that the Primary Care Research Network has helped to recruit into studies (both primary and secondary care) grew from 140,916 in 2010-11 to 206,716 in 2011-12 - a 46 per cent increase.
This currently represents over one third of the NIHR Clinical Research Network’s Portfolio of research which recruited a total of 595,540 patients into research studies last year.
Commenting on the statistics, Dr Jonathan Sheffield, chief executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network said:
“We know from recent polls that patients want to see the NHS do research, and they want the chance to get involved. These figures indicate a strong commitment to research and innovation in primary care which will ultimately help to improve clinical outcomes for patients. They also show that clinical research is not just for the large teaching hospitals - it is absolutely core business for all parts of the NHS.”
For more information contact:
Primary Care Research Network
0203 320 6707