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This blog, written by Dr Sally Giles, was originally posted on the Greater Manchester Patient Safety Transitional Research Centre (GM PSTRC) website. 

The PRIMER (Primary Care Research in Manchester Engagement Resource) group was established in 2008 to work with researchers within the Centre for Primary Care and University of Manchester.  It is located in the NIHR School for Primary Care Research (SPCR) in Manchester.  PRIMER is a group of patients, carers and members of the public who work with researchers across the NIHR SPCR, Greater Manchester PSTRC and The University of Manchester.

Carole Bennett, former Chair of PRIMER, says:

“Here at PRIMER, we help to make sure that patients and the public can shape Primary Care research.  We work closely with researchers so that they know what real people want and need from NHS primary care. We help to ensure that research is relevant to our health and can make a difference to our lives.

“Our members have a very wide range of backgrounds.  Some of us have particular health conditions, some are carers, and some have been involved in health care.  We all have an interest in health and research and in getting involved.

“I’ve been a member of PRIMER for several years now.  I can honestly say that it has been a fantastic experience.  The researchers that we collaborate with really take on board our ideas and suggestions, leading to their research being relevant and helpful to patients and carers.  It is great to feel that we are making a difference.”

PRIMER has been involved in running a number of innovative workshops for members of the public and researchers.  These have included two “hack days” where members of the public pitched their research ideas to each other and to researchers, and then worked through how to develop the ideas using a research toolkit, and a “Managing Difficult Situations” workshop where members of the public and researchers discussed how to address some of the more difficult situations that can arise when undertaking PPI.  Members of PRIMER have also co-developed and co-delivered training about PPI to researchers and medical student undergraduates.

The plan going forward is to build on the ideas generated from these workshops and embed the learning from within PPI structures across the university.