Intended for healthcare professionals


Primary care trusts and primary care research

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 06 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:56
  1. Frederick Chen, Atlantic fellow in public policy (,
  2. Azeem Majeed, professor of primary care
  1. Public Health Policy Unit, School of Public Policy, University College London, London WC1H 9QU
  2. Department of Primary Care and Social Medicine, Imperial College, London W6 8RP

Research networks and academic departments can help to do much needed research

Primary care is central to the NHS and primary care research provides “the missing link in the development of high quality, evidence based health care for populations.”1 2 The recent development of primary care trusts, which are responsible for commissioning local health services, has changed the landscape for primary care research in the NHS.3 In addition to their already formidable service duties, primary care trusts also have research responsibilities.4 Unfortunately, the competing demands on primary care trusts for establishing research governance and meeting government targets have made primary care research a luxury that few trusts can afford.

Despite the government's documented commitment to primary care trusts and their role in primary care research, scepticism exists about the ability of the trusts to take on this role. In a 2002 House of Lords debate, Baroness Northover questioned the health minister on the responsibilities of primary care trusts, saying, “Many of …

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