What is the PCRN (Primary Care Research Network)?

The mission of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the research arm of the NHS, is to maintain a health research system in which the NHS supports outstanding individuals, working in world class facilities, conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of patients and the public.

The NIHR is funded by the Department of Health.

The Primary Care Research Network East of England (PCRN EoE) is one of a family of NIHR research networks working together with the Comprehensive Local research Networks (CLRN) to provide a wide range of support to the local research community. Our practice participates in research activity and works closely with the Primary Care Research Network East of England, creating more opportunities for more patients to be involved in research should they wish.

By building on and extending partnerships, with university academics and the NHS, research collaboration across the East of England is further strengthened.

The PCRN EoE also helps out practices by supporting us to recruit and take part in clinical studies through their locally based research nurses and coordinators.

Your data

We comply with the GDPR requirements.

People in our care team may look at your health records to check whether you are suitable to take part in a research study, before asking you whether you are interested or sending you a letter on behalf of the researcher.

Read more.

What is primary care research?

People use research to try and find the cause of diseases and to find better treatments and services for those diseases and improve patient care.

Research is presented in different formats:

  • Completing a questionnaire.
  • Requesting the use of your anonymised data.
  • Taking part in an interview.
  • Testing new treatments, therapies or devices.
  • Experiencing new combinations of treatments.

Practice set up

We have been accredited by RCGP as ‘Research Ready’ so we are able to participate in research studies that PCRN EoE offers. To become research ready the practice has completed an online self-accreditation questionnaire which covers the minimum requirements of The Research Governance Framework for Health and Social Care, Department of Health (2005). The accreditation has been developed by the Royal College of General Practitioners in conjunction with the NIHR and the PCRN. (Research Ready self-accreditation).

Benefits of being ‘Research Ready’:

  • Enables our practice to reflect on our ability and capacity to conduct high quality research.
  • Provides assurance for study sponsors, governance staff and patients that our practice is up to date and compliant with the national standards for NHS research.
  • Provides the practice with awareness of how it can minimise any potential risks involved for our practice, practice staff and study participants.
  • Access to a research ready file which provides a useful reference for the research team and also for the induction and training of new staff in our practice who will be participating in its research activities.
  • Opportunities to be involved in a wider range of research studies.

GCP trained staff

  • Dr Tim Bosworth – Lead research GP
  • Loraine Leggett – Nurse Practitioner
  • Clair Haylock – Nurse Practitioner
  • Xanthe Dunthorne- Data and Quality Manager

Practice involvement in research

Research studies help to answer specific questions about health and health care.

For example:

  • Whether new treatments or ways of organising services are effective (do they work?).
  • Whether those treatments or services are cost effective (do they give value for money?).
  • How different health problems develop and progress over time – to help gain a better understanding of that health problem.
  • The views of patients and health professionals about a particular treatment, intervention or service and how they might be improved.

The results of research studies can be of interest to patients and useful to health professionals and managers in the NHS in helping to decide what treatments and services to provide in the future.

Studies we have participated in

  • EPIC – A study following health & behaviour of thousands of Norfolk residents.
  • 3C’s & TARGET – Studies investigating the treatments and outcomes of children & adults presenting with coughs.
  • Diabetes Prevention Study – Helping those at risk of type 2 diabetes by encouraging a healthy lifestyle through telephone calls.

Patient participation and how to take part

There are different ways patients can become involved in studies our practice is participating in:

  • A doctor or nurse may talk to you about the study and ask whether you would consider taking part.
  • You will be sent information through the post if we feel that you might be a suitable participant.
  • You may read information on the website about a correct study and wish to take part by contacting the practice.

Patients who express an interest in finding out more about a study will be asked for their permission to share their name and contact details with the study team. Some studies require direct contact between participants and the team, others involve contact through a member of practice staff or with a primary care research network research nurse.

  • Participation in research is entirely voluntary and you have the right to say ‘no’. Nobody will put pressure on you to take part in research if you do not wish to. You do not have to give us a reason if you decide not to.
  • Your care and your relationship with your doctor or nurse will not be affected in any way if you decide not to take part in a research study
  • You will always receive clear information about what taking part in a research study would involve. The practice will usually provide you with a patient information sheet; then, if you agree to take part, the study team will explain the study to you in more detail and you will have the opportunity to ask questions about it
  • Nobody from outside this practice will be given your contact details or have access to your medical records without your consent. If you do agree to take part in a study, you will be asked to sign a consent form – this will clearly state which parts of your notes (if any) may be looked at for the purposes of the research
  • You will not be asked to take part in a large number of studies. Most researchers are very specific about the criteria that people need to meet in order to enter their study. Usually this means that only a relatively small number of patients at the practice will be suitable for any one study.