Three universities have set up a national research centre to study healthcare problems, including patients' needs and expectations of their GPs, and the quality of care by dentists, nurses and community health workers.
The national centre for primary care research and development, with sites at Manchester, Salford and York universities, is funded through the Department of Health's policy research programme and is the first of the larger multidisciplinary health services research centres recommended by an independent review four years ago. It has annual DoH funding of up to Pounds 1.5 million over ten years, and some 60 staff, including sociologists, economists, psychologists and statisticians, as well as GPs, nurses and pharmacists, based at Manchester, Salford's public health research and resource centre, and York's centre for health economics.
Minister of health Gerald Malone, opening the centre at Manchester, said the collaborative bid was chosen from a shortlist of six high quality proposals. The National Health Service research strategy aimed to ensure that clinical, managerial and policy decisions were based on sound research findings and scientific developments.
"We need to release these research findings from the cloistered world of academe into the mainstream of NHS healthcare provision," Mr Malone said.
"So I am particularly pleased that the centre will have a major programme of research aimed at establishing the most effective methods of disseminating and implementing research findings."