New Welsh centre for primary and emergency care research launched

Experts gathered to mark the launch PRIME Centre Wales

Expert researchers, clinicians, NHS staff, patients and carers gathered on 22nd September to mark the launch of the PRIME Centre Wales.

The new research centre is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of people in Wales and beyond, by conducting high-quality research on topics of national policy priority in primary, emergency and unscheduled care.

PRIME Centre Wales is led by Cardiff University, alongside partner universities Bangor, Swansea, and South Wales, with £2.7M funding awarded over three years by Health and Care Research Wales.

Invited speakers at the meeting included Professor Mark Drakeford, the Minister for Health and Social Services; Professor Jean White, Chief Nursing Officer, Welsh Government; Professor Niro Siriwardena, Professor of Primary and Pre-Hospital Health Care, University of Lincoln; Mr Simon Denegri, NIHR National Director for Patients and the Public in Research and Chair, INVOLVE; Dr Ruth Hussey, Chief Medical Officer, Welsh Government; and Dr Fiona Godlee, Editor in Chief, the BMJ.

Research in the area of primary, emergency and unscheduled medicine is crucial as 90% of people’s contacts with the NHS takes place in the community, rather than in hospital. With an ageing population, the numbers of people with complex health and social care problems is increasing. Strong primary, emergency and unscheduled care are essential to an effective and efficient health service.

Much of the management of long term conditions such as diabetes, asthma, COPD, epilepsy and heart disease has shifted from hospitals to primary care. Rehabilitation and promotion of self-management are increasingly also managed in the community. Appropriate use of and responses provided by unscheduled and emergency care services are critical to the provision of high quality and timely emergency care, as well as to efficient primary, secondary and social care services.

The centre will build on existing areas of scientific excellence in Wales with core research themes centred on long term conditions, patient centred and prudent health care, infections and antibiotic resistance, emergency and unscheduled (including pre-hospital) care, patient safety and health care improvement, as well as prevention, screening and early diagnosis.

Minister for Health and Social Services, Mark Drakeford (pictured above), said: 

“This is an exciting development, which together with other high-quality health research taking place across Wales, will help our NHS to address current and future challenges. PRIME Centre Wales will engage professionals and translate its findings into good practice focused on excellent patient outcomes.”

Professor Adrian Edwards from Cardiff School of Medicine and Director of PRIME Centre Wales:

“This is a wonderful opportunity to do the research, with and for patients and the public, that is so needed in these vital areas of the NHS. At a time of great challenges for the NHS, and an ageing population with increasingly complex health and care needs, effective and good quality, patient-centred primary and emergency care services are absolutely essential for the overall NHS to provide the healthcare that patients need and want.”

Health and Care Research Wales is a national, multi-faceted, virtual organisation funded and overseen by the Welsh Government.