Primary care research awards: Engaging healthcare professionals and increasing opportunities for patients to take part in research

13 March 2020

Professor Phillip Evans, National Specialty Lead for Primary Care, NIHR Clinical Research Network 

Nick Thomas, RCGP Clinical Lead for Research 

Isabel Baker, Operations Coordinator NIHR Clinical Research Network

For the past four years, the RCGP has partnered with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to recognise NHS general practices and First5 GPs who are active in research with Clinical Research Network Awards.

The awards were set up to celebrate RCGP members who demonstrate outstanding contributions in conducting NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio studies in a primary care setting.

Applications open soon

The Clinical Network Research awards will be open for applications on 1 April 2020 and will be announced across NIHR and RCGP social media. More information will be published on the Awards section of the RCGP website.

Patient engagement is particularly valued, as well as innovative methods used to successfully deliver of clinical research studies. Entrants also need to set out how they would use the prize money to increase their contribution to NIHR Portfolio studies in future.

GPs bringing research closer to the public

In 2019, the applications showed a strong and continued commitment to research with some truly exciting examples of practices and individual GPs bringing research closer to the public. The range of entries showcased the new and innovative ways opportunities are being increased for patients to be involved in the research process more widely.

The 2019 winners were in the General Practice Award, Dr Amrit Takhar of Wansford & Kingscliffe Practice and First5 GP, Dr Elizabeth Morris from Church Street Practice, Wantage.

Each winner received £1,000 prize money and a glass plaque at the 2019 RCGP Annual Conference. The awards were presented by Dr Nicholas Thomas, Clinical Lead for Research at the RCGP’s Clinical Innovation and Research Centre (CIRC), Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham, Chair of RCGP Research Paper of the Year and Professor Amanda Howe, RCGP President.

The winners have demonstrated remarkable innovation

Professor Phillip Evans, National Specialty Lead for Primary Care, NIHR Clinical Research Network, said:

"This is now the fourth year of our very successful RCGP NIHR Research Awards have taken place, and once again the winners have demonstrated remarkable innovation and delivery of primary care research within their practices, which has significantly contributed to Clinical Research Network recruitment into research projects over the years."

The awards continue to have ongoing impact on raising the profile of primary care research in the award winners’ practices. Dr Elizabeth Morris, 2019 First5 GP winner, said:

“Receiving this award has helped us to raise the profile of primary care research within the practice. More of my colleagues now understand why I do research, the direct benefits that participating in a study can have for our patients, and how essential having an engaged primary care team is to the success of any study. We’ve seen a lot more enthusiasm and interest in the studies that we are taking part in as a practice, with colleagues now keen to know how they can help with recruitment.”

Dr Lisa Gibbons, GP Partner at Claremont Medical Practice and winner of the 2018 General Practice Award, used her prize money to update existing equipment used to diagnose and monitor lung conditions. This has allowed the team to deliver research studies with greater efficiency and has offered more patients an opportunity to participate in research.

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