I wanted to highlight the important area of primary care research networks, as in the rapidly evolving NHS this may well get missed off the agenda for GP consortia. I believe future leadership of primary care research would benefit from location within consortia as we witness the closure of PCTs – the current hosts.
If GP consortia host research networks, it will help inform commissioning decisions and build on the current momentum to widen GPs' involvement in research.
Research, as the Department of Health's research governance framework says, is ‘essential to the successful promotion and protection of health and well-being, and also to effective health and social care services'.
The NHS Operating Framework includes research as core NHS business. The research taking place within primary care includes a range of subjects of importance to primary and community care including stroke community rehabilitation, diabetes, respiratory conditions, H1N1 influenza, injury prevention in children and smoking cessation in deprived communities.
Research will also contribute to the QIPP efficiency agenda. It plays a vital role feeding into the quality cycle, supporting consortia in making decisions through investments or disinvestments in a cost-effective manner based on sound evidence.
GPs who agree that primary research be hosted within GP consortia should voice this through their local clusters. The funding which is ring-fenced for research can then be transferred to GP consortia budgets as they emerge.
From Dr Amrit Takhar
GP research facilitator, Peterborough