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Researchers Dr Clare Jinks, Dr Sarah McLachlan and Dr Steven Blackburn from Keele University have begun the colossal task of contacting SPCR researchers, collecting and collating information for their project on the costs & consequences of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in primary care research. They aim to find out what the financial and non-financial costs and consequences of PPI are, for the organisations, researchers and patients involved in primary care research.

The “meanings, costs and consequences of patient and public involvement (PPI) in primary care research” project was developed by researchers at Keele University, the University of Birmingham (Dr Sue Jowett and Dr Phil Kinghorn) and University College London (Dr Fiona Stevenson) in collaboration with patients with experience of involvement in primary care research. It aims to identify the range of PPI activities taking place within the SPCR and to explore associated costs (financial and non-financial) and consequences for organisations, researchers and patients involved. The project has five components: (1) analysis of documents containing information about PPI within the SPCR (2) an electronic survey for researchers (3) a postal survey for PPI representatives (4) observations of research meetings with PPI (5) an exploratory willingness to pay survey to determine how much members of funding panels are prepared to pay for PPI.

The project is requesting the help of Principal Investigators (PIs) of projects funded by the SPCR in completing an electronic survey about their perspective on the costs and consequences of PPI. PIs will receive a questionnaire for each SPCR-funded project that they lead or have led and will be asked to provide information on various aspects of PPI in their project(s), including the type and extent of involvement, financial and non-financial costs, and perceptions of the impact of PPI. We would be very grateful if completed questionnaires could be returned within four weeks. PIs will also be invited to share any documents containing information about PPI within their SPCR projects, for example minutes of meetings, and to pass on a patient survey to PPI representatives who have been involved in their projects. Finally, PIs will be asked whether they have any forthcoming SPCR project meetings involving patients and members of the public, which they would be willing for us to observe. 

The project will finish in January 2015 and results will be published shortly afterwards. Findings will increase the evidence base on the costs and impact of PPI, and will be used to develop recommendations for improving PPI practice in primary care research.  

Please contact Sarah McLachlan for more information.