Leading your PCN

Are you a Clinical Director of a Primary Care Network (PCN)? Read on for some key information and quick steps on how to get your primary care network practices more involved in research to improve care quality in GM.

The introduction of PCNs presents an exciting opportunity to drive primary-care led research across organisational and system boundaries. Here’s some official clauses from the new GP contract:

8.1 The NHS Long Term Plan emphasises the importance of research. NHS England will work to increase the number of people registering to participate in health research to 1 million by 2023/24, and Primary Care Networks will be able to help with this goal

8.2 Research participation within general practice has many additional benefits: quality improvement, professional development, and generating income, amongst others. Working with the Royal College of General Practitioners, the National Institute of Health Research and the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, we will use the opportunity created by Primary Care Networks to increase general practice research participation levels. During 2019, we will develop a way of helping networks to do this, embedding approaches such as the RCGP Research Ready quality assurance model. We welcome also the National Institute of Health Research’s intention to prioritise an expansion in academic research capacity into primary care.

Key steps for engaging your PCN in research:

  • Find out which (if any) of your network practices are already involved in research
  • Encourage those practices to share their stories with others at network meetings
  • Signpost your practice teams to our GM GP Excellence research webpages
  • Contact the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Greater Manchester researchsupport.crngm@nihr.ac.uk who can help with:
    • Funding to support development of research infrastructure
    • Delivering research awareness training and formal ‘Good Clinical Practice’ training for practice teams
    • Facilitating the development of network-wide research models