PICS is supporting a new and unique collaborative project in Mid Notts that enables more residents to get involved in clinical research by bridging a gap between GP practice staff and researchers.

Involving communities in research contributes to the prevention of ill-health, earlier diagnosis, better outcomes, reduction in hospital admissions and faster recovery. However, the evidence shows that people living in Mid Notts are not offered the same research opportunities as residents in other parts of Nottinghamshire. This vital project supports staff in primary care to engage more residents in research. It aims to reduce this significant health inequality, improving individual and population health outcomes along the way. Encouraging staff to be research-active is also proven to improve recruitment and retention.

The Mid Notts Research Team is delivered by Sarah Shelton, Senior Primary Care Research Nurse for Mid-Nottinghamshire, works closely with Dr Vibhore Prasad, Clinical Director for Ashfield North Primary Care Network and GP Partner and Research Lead at Brierley Park Medical Centre, Huthwaite. They:

  • Identify the studies that will work in the current NHS context in Mid Notts.
  • Bring together a network of research-active or research-interested colleagues to share best practice.
  • Provide and share documents, policies and processes that work in our Mid Notts NHS setting.
  • Join in partnership with local hospitals to find patients or collaborate with secondary care researchers.
  • Pool and benefit from additional skills, staff, equipment and facilities.
  • Utilise our strong links with the community groups, VCSE organisations and build trust between them and researchers.
  • Chair a quarterly Mid-Notts research group to offer support, networking, study opportunities.

Sarah explains:

“We proactively identify studies that address the barriers to good health and wellbeing for our residents. I then work with the Clinical Research Network infrastructure to bridge any gaps so that general practice colleagues feel confident to take part. This could be by becoming research active themselves, or through enabling their patients to get involved.

We are flexible to the needs of the practice and can support the teams with selecting and setting up suitable studies for the practice population, training for both clinical and administrative staff, and then inviting and recruiting patients. I’m also part-based in Kingsmill Hospital so I can identify patients who meet study criteria from there as well.

It’s really important to me that we promote research studies that are of a high quality and important to our local community, as well as fit with the current capacity of the GP Practices. ”

Ashfield North Primary Care Network (PCN) team designed the project and secured funding and support for it to cover all six PCNs in Mid Notts, covering Newark, Mansfield, Ashfield and Sherwood. The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) East Midland’s network and Nottinghamshire and Nottingham’s Integrated Care Board have co-funded the project, and Kingsmill Hospital and Primary Integrated Community Services (PICS) have supported implementation.

To find out more, contact Sarah Shelton:

Image credit: Christian Bowen via Unsplash.