Primary care research network progress in Scotland

Frank Sullivan, Alison Hinds, Marie Pitkethly, Shaun Treweek, Philip Wilson, Sally Wyke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Many developed industrialized countries perceive considerable value in developing practice based research networks. In this paper, the development of the Scottish Primary Care Research Network (SPCRN) from 1924-2013 is described. After a false start in the early twentieth century and some local developments 10-15 years ago, the Scottish Primary Care Research Network was finally built upon existing networks of teaching and training practices centred on research active departments of general practice and primary care. This meant that a climate already favourable to research existed and several of the necessary skills were available. Long-term funding commitment to the network by the National Health Service meant that the infrastructure could be developed in the knowledge that it would be likely to become incorporated into wider Scottish and UK systems. Two-thirds of Scottish practices regularly participate in research at a rate of 50-60 studies each year, which result in a range of publications that influence clinical decisions and health policy. As the success of the network grows, greater demands are placed upon it, and the capacity of practices to continue to engage in research may be tested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-42
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of General Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Family Practice
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Scotland
  • Journal Article


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