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Royal College of General Practitioners and NIHR award winners announced

Published: 12 July 2022

The NIHR has recognised the achievements of GPs and GP surgeries that have enhanced capability and participation in research with two awards in partnership with the the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) and RCGP have acknowledged the excellent contributions of NHS clinicians to research with an award for research-active NHS general practices that demonstrate innovation and excellence in research delivery and an award for GPs with an emerging interest or experience in delivering primary care research.

Practice category: Shifa Surgery

The practice category, which identifies research-active NHS general practices that demonstrate innovation and excellence when delivering NIHR CRN portfolio research, has been awarded to the Shifa Surgery. 

The judges were particularly impressed by how the Shifa Surgery has supported and increased research activity within the Blackburn North Primary Care Network (PCN), tackling health inequalities. This has allowed for substantial recruitment to PANORAMIC and the social prescribing inequality studies in the area. 

Through these innovations, the Shifa Surgery continues to be the highest recruiter for the PRINCIPLE study, which investigates COVID-19 treatments for recovery at home. The high participation in North Blackburn is vital, as the region was one of the worst affected by COVID-19.

The surgery’s recruitment has been targeted, resulting in the surgery’s research staff speaking eight languages. Research is then explained in the patient's own language, increasing patients’ confidence and understanding of studies.

Research is an important and accessible part of medical advancement that can be achieved to its highest in every GP practice, regardless of what community they serve. I owe this success to my practice team, my patients and my community, who placed their trust in me.
Dr Tanveer Ahmed, GP partner at the Shifa Surgery

First5® category: Dr Serge Engamba

Dr Serge Engamba has been presented with the First5® award, which celebrates GPs with an emerging interest or experience in delivering NIHR CRN research within a primary care setting.

Dr Engamba is a GP, GP partner, clinical research lead and primary care deputy specialty lead. The judges commended Dr Engamba on his commitment to building research capacity in the Norwich PCN and encouraging public participation in research.

By successfully engaging the Norwich PCN and the 21 OneNorwich GP practices, Dr Engamba has ensured that each GP practice has been able to offer research opportunities to their patients. All practices in the PCN recruited for the PANORAMIC study, a first for the PCN.

The collaboration between the practices, cultivated by Dr Engamba, allowed for an offer to join the Psychological Impact of COVID-19 study to be sent to every patient at each surgery by text. As a result the OneNorwich GP network is the fifth highest recruiting GP site in the UK for the study, assembling 1,631 participants.

As a PI for PANORAMIC, Dr Engamba’s site was one of the highest hub site recruiters in the UK. The successful recruitment is as a result of how Dr Engamba has championed public participation and patient experience. Participants had access to translated resources and Dr Engamba assisted the participation of those in care homes and ensured that every participant was sent a feedback form, resolving issues and barriers to entry immediately.

I feel really honoured to have received this research award, which is a testimony to the hard work and dedication of my team of colleagues and our real passion for primary care research. Our work promotes the idea that research delivery can be done safely and efficiently ‘at scale’ and introduces this model as a successful alternative in primary care.
Dr Serge Engamba

Recognising outstanding research contributions

Professor Phil Evans, Deputy Medical Director for the NIHR CRN, said: "The NIHR CRN is delighted to work with the RCGP once again this year to jointly award the Practice Award and the First5® Award. This innovation and delivery, against the background of all the challenges of undertaking research in a pandemic, has been a substantial achievement. We congratulate the winners, but also all the applicants, for their contributions to primary care research in the CRN."

Dr Nicholas Thomas, Clinical Lead for Research for the RCGP, said: “The RCGP works closely with the NIHR CRN to celebrate and recognise research achievement. These awards are a fantastic opportunity to showcase the engagement and activity of our members. Congratulations to both the winners and applicants”.

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