Shaping the future: a primary care research and development strategy for Scotland.

P. Hannaford*, J. Hunt, F. Sullivan, S. Wyke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Primary care is at the centre of the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland; however, its R & D capacity is insufficiently developed. R&D is a potentially powerful way of improving the health and well-being of the population, and of securing high quality care for those who need it. In order to achieve this, any Scottish strategy for primary care R&D should aim to develop both a knowledge-based service and a research culture in primary care. In this way, decisions will be made based upon best available evidence, whatever the context. Building on existing practice and resources within primary care research, this strategy for achieving a thriving research culture in Scottish primary care has three key components: A Scottish School of Primary Care which will stimulate and co-ordinate a cohesive programme of research and training. A comprehensive system of funding for training and career development which will ensure access to a range of research training which will ensure that Scotland secures effective leadership for its primary care R&D. Designated research and development practices (DRDPs) which will build on the work of existing research practices, in the context of Local Health Care Co-operatives (LHCCs) and Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), to create a co-operative environment in which a range of primary care professionals can work together to improve their personal and teams' research skills, and to support research development in their areas. A modest investment will create substantial increases in both the quality and quantity of research being undertaken in primary care. This investment should be targeted at both existing primary care professionals working in service settings in primary care, LHCCs and PCTs, and at centres of excellence (including University departments). A dual approach will foster collaboration and will allow existing centres of excellence both to undertake more primary care research and to support the development of service based primary care professionals in their research. Resources should be distributed equitably, taking into account demography, geography and the health needs of patients in Scotland. The strategy and its components must be seen as a whole. The Scottish School of Primary Care will stimulate and co-ordinate both research and training programmes. DRDPs will become research active and will participate in School-led training and research, and will contribute to research programmes. Comprehensive funding for training and career development will ensure that staff have the skills to participate in both DRDPs and in the School's activities. Thus, inadequate commitment to any one component of the strategy will mean that other components will be less successful. Commitment to all three components will maximise the chances of success.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-299
Number of pages5
JournalHealth Bulletin
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1999


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