Intended for healthcare professionals


The research needs of primary care

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 01 July 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:2

Trials must be relevant to patients

  1. Paul Thomas, director, West London Research Network (WeLReN) (
  1. Department of Primary Health Care and General Practice, Imperial College School of Medicine, St Mary's Campus, London W2 1PG

    General practice p 24

    A health service that is led by primary care must be able to inquire into the practice of primary care; let research in primary care blossom. In England, at least, this logic now seems to be backed by political will. The Mant report (from a subcommittee of the health service's Central Research and Development Committee in 1997) states that there is an urgent need for both research and researchers in primary care.1 The full committee later challenged universities to support this recommendation.2 It is now government policy to develop research capacity through primary care research networks.3

    Two papers, one in this week's BMJ, the other recently published in the journal, point the way towards conducting randomised controlled trials that are relevant to primary care. Both papers argue that it is difficult for researchers to gather a sample that is representative of the whole population. Wilson et al (p 24) point out that clinical trials must be conducted in primary care rather than secondary …

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