Primary Care is where most people experience NHS services for the first time with at least 90% of all health contacts taking place in primary care, in GP and dental practices and pharmacies.
The Scottish Primary Care Research Network is the national primary care research network operating in Scotland. The network was established in 2002 as a framework to co-ordinate national research activity in primary care. The overall aim of SPCRN is to increase the amount of research relevant to patient care undertaken in a primary care setting.
SPCRN is funded by the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) to facilitate high quality, funded, research studies, both academic and commercial, which are relevant to primary care. SPCRN facilitates the timely, appropriate and effective recruitment and follow-up of patients in primary care settings and covers the entire range of clinical research areas.
SPCRN works with a wide range of primary care health professionals and promotes research in areas for which primary care has a particular responsibility. These include
- disease prevention
- health promotion
- screening and early diagnosis
- management of long-term conditions, such as arthritis and heart disease.
The network is led by the Network Manager Dr Alison Hinds and supported by Scottish Primary Care Champion, Professor Bruce Guthrie. SPCRN staff are based in five 'nodes' covering all Health Board regions in Scotland. They are here to help:
- Recruit practices and professionals to high-quality studies of relevance to primary care
- Liaise with Principal Investigators to clarify protocols and expectations
- Provide a contact point for local Principal Investigators who require recruitment of practices or professionals into a study
- Provide practices with an expert service to identify potentially eligible patients via electronic database searches and prepare the ethically approved letters to be sent out by the practice.
- Trouble-shoot where recruitment is problematic by monitoring the involvement of recruited practices and professionals in studies and taking steps to remedy any problems that occur
- Provide feedback on the results of each study to the primary care professionals/practices that helped with that study
- Contribute to the maintenance and development of a national database of primary care research activity in Scotland
- Calculate the costs of involving primary care staff in research and arrange reimbursement from the NHS support cost budget for eligible funded studies
- Contribute to the national SPCRN team, working with other regional nodes, SPCRN central staff and other networks in Scotland.
Amy Howie, Network Administrator
Kirsty Semple Way