Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases that primary care professionals treat, affecting about 3.3% of the population of England. Data from the new general practitioner contract for 2004-05 showed that general practices were treating around 1.76 million people with diabetes. Most treatments for diabetes are delivered in primary care and primary care professionals will therefore have a key role to play in achieving the aims of the UK Diabetes Research Network (DRN).
The Associate Director for Primary Care for the DRN is Professor Azeem Majeed from the Department of Primary Care & Social Medicine at Imperial College. He will be the Network’s primary care adviser and will collaborate closely with the primary care leads for each of the 8 local research networks.
Key aims for primary care within both the local and national networks will be to:
- Encourage general practitioners, practice nurses and other primary care professionals to take part in the activities of the DRN and to help recruit patients for clinical trials and other studies.
- Develop an educational framework for applying the results of research into clinical practice in collaboration with clinicians, patients, and managers.
Because patients with diabetes are largely treated in primary care, the electronic records held by general practices will be an important asset for the DRN. Researchers at Imperial College London have been working with general practices, primary care trusts, and information technology professionals to develop electronic registers of patients with diabetes. This has included investigating how these registers can be used to monitor and improve the quality of services received by patients with diabetes. The DRN will build on this work by examining how these registers can be used to help in the recruitment of patients into research studies.
As the DRN develops, we will ensure that primary care professionals continue to play a key role and that their opinions are taken into account when determining the future direction of the network. If you do have any comments about the role of primary care within the DRN, please do send them to us. Our email address is drninfo@DRN.org. Alternatively, refer to our contact us page for our address and contact telephone numbers.