Research Practice

What is the Primary Care Research Network East of England?

The mission of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the research arm of the NHS, is to maintain a health research system in which the NHS supports outstanding individuals, working in world class facilities, conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of patients and the public.

The NIHR is funded by the Department of Health.

The Clinical Research Network (CRN) Eastern is one of 15 CRN’s that cover England. Each CRN provides a wide range of support to the local research community covering 30 different specialities, one of which is Primary Care. Our practice participate in research activity and works closely with CRN Eastern creating more opportunities for more patients to be involved in research should they wish.

By building on and extending partnerships, with university academics and the NHS, research collaboration across the East of England is further strengthened.

CRN Eastern also helps our practice by supporting us to recruit and take part in clinical studies through their locally based research nurses and network coordinators.

What is Primary Care Research?

People use research to try and find the causes of diseases and to find better treatments and services for those diseases and improve patient care.

Different Types of Research

Research is presented in different formats:

  • Completing a questionnaire
  • Requesting the use of your anonymised data
  • Taking part in an interview
  • Testing new treatments, therapies or devices
  • Experiencing new combinations of treatments

Practice Setup

We have been accredited by RCGP as ‘Research Ready’ so we are able to participate in research studies that CRN Eastern offers. To become research ready the practice has completed an online self-accreditation questionnaire which covers the minimum requirements of the Research Governance Framework for Health and Social Care, Department of Health (2005). The accreditation has been developed by the Royal College of General Practitioners in conjunction with the NIHR and the PCRN.

Benefits of Being ‘Research Ready’

  • Enables our practice to reflect on our ability and capacity to conduct high quality research.
  • Provides assurance for study sponsors, governance staff and patients that our practice is up-to-date and compliant with national standards for NHS research
  • Provides the practice with awareness of how it can minimise any potential risks for our practice, practice staff and study participants.
  • Access to a Research Ready file which provides a useful reference for the research team and also for the induction and training of new staff in our practice who will be participating in its research activities.
  • Opportunities to be involved in a wider range of research studies.

Research Training

A key requirement for anyone involved in the conduct of clinical research is good clinical practice for research (GCP) training. GCP is the guideline and standard to which all NHS research is conducted.

Why GCP Training is Essential

Everyone involved in the conduct of clinical research must have training to ensure they are best prepared to carry out their duties and responsibilities. This is laid down in the Research Governance Framework for Health and Social Care Department of Health (2005), covering all research in the NHS in England, and in law for those people working on clinical trials.

The principles of GCP state that: Each individual involved in conducting a trial should be qualified by education, training and experience to perform his or her respective task(s). 2.8, E6 Guideline for Good Clinical Practice.

GCP Trained Staff

Dr Keeva Rogers – GP Partner

Jo Cartwright – Physicians Associate

Fenella Rawlings – Advanced Nurse Practitioner

Denise Steward – Administrator

Jade Dorling – Health Care Assistant

Practice Involvement in Research

Why support research?

Research studies help to answer specific questions about health and health care. For example:

  • Whether new treatments or ways of organising services are effective (do they work?).
  • Whether those treatments or services are cost-effective (do they give value for money?).
  • How different health problems develop and progress over time – to help gain a better understanding of that health problem.
  • The views of patients and health professionals about a particular treatment, intervention or service and how they might be improved.

The results of research studies can be of interest to patients and useful to health professionals and managers in the NHS in helping to decide what treatments and services to provide in future.

Studies our practice are currently participating in

  • RAACENO – Reducing Asthma Attacks in Children using Exhaled Nitro Oxide
  • ATTACK – Aspirin to Target Arterial Events in Chronic Kidney Disease

Patient participation and how to take part in research

There are different ways that patients can become involved in studies our practice is participating in.

  • A doctor or nurse may talk to you about the study and ask whether you would consider taking part or
  • You will be sent information through the post if we feel that you might be a suitable participant
  • You may read information on the website about a current study and wish to take part by contacting the practice

Patients who express an interest in finding out more about a study will be asked for their permission to share their name and contact details with the study team. Some studies require direct contact between participants and the team, others involve contact through a member of practice staff or with a Primary Care Research Network research nurse.

  • Participation in research is entirely voluntary and you have the right to say ‘No’. Nobody will put pressure on you to take part in research if you do not wish to. You do not have to give us a reason if you decide not to take part.
  • Your care and your relationship with your doctor or nurse will not be affected in any way if you decide not to take part in a research study.
  • You will always receive clear information about what taking part in a research study would involve. The practice will usually provide you with a patient information sheet; then, if you agree to take part, the study team will explain the study to you in more detail and you will have the opportunity to ask questions about it.
  • Nobody from outside this practice will be given your contact details or have access to your medical records without your prior consent. If you do agree to take part in a study, you will be asked to sign a consent form – this will clearly state which parts of your notes (if any) may be looked at for the purposes of the research.

You will not be asked to take part in a large number of studies. Most researchers are very specific about the criteria that people need to meet in order to enter their study. Usually this means that only a relatively small number of patients at the practice will be suitable for any one study.

Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in Research

Information about how patients and members of the public can be involved in helping to influence the shape of research

Increasingly patients, carers and members of the public are contributing their perspectives to the way clinical research is designed, commissioned, managed and supported. Active involvement in clinical research is very different from being a participant in a study.

European Patient Ambassador Programme (EPAP)

EPAP has been developed to help patients and carers across Europe understand how healthcare research and guidelines work, how to get involved and engage in advocacy and media activities at any level.

Research and patient experience short films – 4 useful resources for patients about taking part in a clinical study – being a research participant

Many patients voluntarily take part in research as ‘participants’ in clinical trials or other well designed studies. These trials aim to test how good beneficial treatments might be for people.

NIHR resources – patients speak about their experiences of being a participant in research

A number of real life stories can be found on the NIHR website. These provide a personal insight into primary care research from the perspective of both the researcher and participant.


An award winning charity website allowing patients and the public to share experiences of health and illness and taking part in research studies.

NHS choices

Comprehensive information about research for patients and the public.