Welsh Government

Primary Care Research

Health and Care Research Wales is committed to supporting primary care research – supporting activity in general practices, dental practices, community pharmacy and optometry.

Support and Delivery Service

The Support and Delivery Service (the Support and Delivery Centre and the local NHS Research & Development teams) work together to increase research taking place in primary care throughout Wales. Through the Primary Care Research Delivery Network (PCRDN) programme of work, the service provided to researchers is fast developing to ensure sites are identified quickly and the study set-up process is as efficient as possible.

How can we help? We:

  • Identify studies suitable for primary care, supporting streamlined study set-up across Wales.
  • Provide access to training and support practices new to research through mentorship - please see our list of appropriate training for primary care practices.
  • Provide a coordinated ‘Once for Wales’ study set-up service (currently being piloted), where many of the set-up activities are conducted only 'Once for Wales', to reduce duplication, streamline the process and improve efficiency for both practices and sponsors.
  • Access to NHS Support Costs – Health and Care Research Wales manage a central budget to allocate to Primary Care practices (general practice, dental, community pharmacy and optometry) to reimburse NHS Support Costs incurred as part of delivering a study. To make an application for support costs please visit the support and excess treatment costs page.
  • Undertake the collection, upload and reporting of research activity in Wales through the Local Portfolio Management System (LPMS). Sample LPMS proforma.



PiCRIS is Changing: 
The Primary Care Research Incentive Scheme (PiCRIS) has been available to general practices to incentivise participation in research activity since 2012. In 2017, a review of the primary care research landscape in Wales made a recommendation to re-focus PiCRIS funding to support the set-up and delivery of research in primary care more directly. 

Therefore, from April 2020, PiCRIS awards will no longer be provided to practices to incentivise participation in research activity. A project is now underway to assess the needs of practices to continue and build their research activity; this will inform an approach to ensure practices are supported adequately in setting up and delivering studies from April 2020 onwards. More information will follow as the project progresses.

Cardiff & Vale UHB General Practice Research Delivery Collaboration (GPRDC):  
As part of the broad PCRDN programme of work, a call was circulated to all existing PiCRIS Level 2 plus practices earlier this year inviting them to put forward an expression of interest to lead a collaboration in their area. Of the four applications received, Ely Bridge Surgery was successful in going forward to lead the development of a General Practice Research Delivery Collaboration for Cardiff & Vale. It is envisaged that further collaborations in other areas of Wales will be developed over time. The aims of the Collaboration are to:

  • Enable delivery of a high volume of research participants recruited into studies
  • Deliver a mixed portfolio of research including some complex interventional studies
  • Deliver a consistent study set-up and delivery model for researchers
  • Provide leadership and facilitate engagement and peer support of all practices within the collaboration
  • Be a flexible model to respond as needed to practice and study requirements

‘Research-focused’ GP practice takes on leading role in world-first antibiotic study
The ‘Antibiotics for lower Respiratory Tract Infection in Children presenting in Primary Care’ study (ARTIC-PC), led by the University of Southampton, is a UK-wide study looking at which children benefit from antibiotics when they have a chest infection.

Finger-prick blood test in GP practices could safely reduce antibiotic use for people with chronic lung disease (PACE study)
A new study, involving researchers from the Centre for Trials Research and the Wales Centre for Primary and Emergency Care Research (PRIME Centre Wales), has found a simple finger-prick blood test at a GP surgery could prevent the unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

Seal or Varnish
The seal or Varnish study was led by Professor Ivor Chestnutt from Cardiff University School of Dentistry, in collaboration with Cardiff and Vale University health Board Dental Service. Professor Chestnutt and his team set out to discover whether decay on first adult molars can be prevented by two different treatments: fissure sealants (seal) or fluoride varnish (varnish).





If you have any questions about primary care research, please email the primary care research team.