Research must become part of the culture of primary care

Research needs to become part of the culture of primary care so that all GPs are routinely involved with it, the new head of the RCGP's research centre believes.

Helen Lester (pictured), professor of primary care research at the University of Manchester, became chairman of the RCGP’s Clinical Innovation and Research Centre in July.

She wants GPs to move away from research being something that a few hundred GPs in university are involved with.

‘I want to move to an approach where every GP realises that much of the excellent care that they provide to patients is informed by research from primary care,’ she said. ‘GPs themselves can inform the future research questions and the process of collecting that evidence.’

Professor Lester believes that, at the moment, research is simply not part of the culture of primary care.

‘In that sense we are out of sync with our colleagues in secondary and tertiary care where research is given far more emphasis,’ she said.

The principles of research need to be part of teaching all through undergraduate and post graduate training, she believes.

‘What I want to do is to try and convince all GPs that a scholarly approach to primary care is something that everybody would want to do,’ she said. ‘I want "scholarly" to be an acceptable word for GPs.’

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