NIHR and NAPP announce new award for research engagement in primary care

This morning I was the guest of the National Association for Patient Participation (NAPP) whose annual conference entitled ‘Quality in Primary Care’ is taking place in Leeds today. It marks the end of their annual awareness week.

NAPP’s members are made up of several thousand Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) in GP practices up and down the country. They are an increasingly important network with an important role in bringing the patient voice to general practice primary care?

Judging by the questions from the packed hall this morning, PPGs are made up of an extremely savvy, well-informed and engaged group of volunteers. Simon Stevens would have been impressed.

They certainly put pointed questions to the main speaker this morning – Maureen Baker, President of the RCGP. I found her speech deeply honest and quite compelling especially on the issue of multi-morbidity and the absence of an evidence base for how to deal with this challenge. Indeed, the urgent need too if we are to future-proof general practice.

I can only point to the work of the NIHR Greater Manchester Primary Care Patient Safety Translational Research Centre NIHR GM PCPSTRC as a sign that the issue is beginning to receive closer attention.

Improving the evidence base about the impact of multi-morbidity and many other issues in general practice will only happen if patients and carers are engaged as partners in developing research questions, shaping methodology and helping to spread knowledge. Also in helping to recruit and increase participation in research studies.

Many PPGs are already actively involved in research: raising awareness about recruiting studies; providing feedback to researchers on the patient experience; advising on the design of research and; feeding back the results of work. But we want many more to become active. They also have an important part to play in influencing the commissioning agenda around research, locally and nationally.

So I am delighted that I was with NAPP colleagues today to launch a new national Research Engagement Award aimed at celebrating what’s already happening in PPGs and encouraging more to do the same.

We want to acknowledge the work PPGS are doing to:
– build a research culture locally
– promote clinical research network campaigns
– provide patient feedback and input into research

It’s dead easy to enter. Applications including more details on the entry criteria are available online at (if the link doesn’t work today try again on a Monday).

Entries must be in by 12 September 2014 and the results will be announced in October 2014. Winners get a small cash prize and, of course, national recognition.

It’s an exciting initiative and I hope will be as impactful as the HSJ awards in clinical research and the Nursing Times award will be for clinical research nurses.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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