Go back

DH urges local practices to prepare for NHS reform

GP and dental practices should seek help from Primary Care Trusts in order to prepare for changes to the NHS that will see them making their own decisions about whether or not to take part in research projects, the Department of Health has said.

In a discussion paper published on 18 December, the DH says local practices should inform themselves about the resources currently used by PCTs when deciding who gets involved in research. They should also share their own resources with other practices in the area, the Department advises.

While acute, community and mental health care providers already have independence in decisions on research participation, until now primary care trusts have led on research involving GPs and dentists. Powers to decide on research will be transferred in April.

The paper, ‘Determining Arrangements for Supporting Research in Primary and Community Care’ says it is “highly important” that such responsibilities are safely transferred.

It suggests providers, commissioners or an academic health science network could host these support services. These networks will have a “key role” in promoting research participation, as well as adopting and sharing best practice, according to the report.

Research sponsors, such as universities, should set up agreements that allocate responsibilities and oversee study delivery, including the management and safety of trials. They should also ensure that funding and peer review of research protocols are in place and appropriate regulatory approvals are carried out.

Local practices will have a range of roles, depending on their size, including administration for trials, employing research nurses or assistants, and gaining patient consent for trials.