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  • Principal Investigator: Luke Mounce
  • 1 September 2021 to 31 August 2022
  • Project No: 515
  • Funding round: FR1

“Primary care” is the name given to services which are the first point of contact a patient will have with the healthcare system. Primary care includes all the services that people can access at their local GP surgery, as well as community pharmacy, dental, and optician services.

The University of Exeter has had major recent growth and development in this area of research. Primary care researchers at Exeter have strong links with local patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) groups. We work with patients from the very start of research projects to ensure that the research we do reflects what patients need. As primary care research at Exeter expands, there is a need for a group of patients and public with an interest in this research who can help researchers:

Develop new research ideas and set priorities

Meet patients and explain research ideas in terms they understand

Find patients with relevant conditions, and

Listen to patients and understand how to incorporate what they say into the design of our research.

We are asking for initial funding for a part-time staff member who is experienced in involvement and engagement of patients and the public. The role of this new post will be to:

Organise training sessions for researchers and the public around working together in primary care research

Set up a specific patient involvement and engagement group focused on primary care to underpin our research.

Co-ordinate activities between this group and researchers. 

Exeter has conducted world-leading primary care research using automatically-collected electronic medical records, called “routine data”. Information that could identify patients is removed. Because they are collected automatically, routine data can include a very large number of patients’ records. This makes routine data very useful for studying things in depth, and looking into rarer conditions. Experience in these databases is needed to use them appropriately.

We are additionally asking for initial funding for a part-time staff member experienced in the use of routine data, who will:

Be authorised to access routine primary care data by the database’s governing body.

Extract relevant data for projects or to help plan future research

Check there are enough records available to answer a research question in future research

Inform researchers and public and patient representatives of the advantages and disadvantages of working with routine data

Help researchers design research using routine data and assist in their applications for both funding and data access.

Both of these staff members will also work together to help form a group of patients and public representatives with a special interest in routine data research, who will receive appropriate training.

The activities undertaken by these new roles will benefit patients and the NHS by ensuring the growing research output at Exeter has ample, meaningful engagement and involvement of patient and public representatives, and is best able to harness the strengths of routine data.

Amount awarded: £38,095

Projects by themes

We have grouped projects under the five SPCR themes in this document

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.