Research and Development

Our Research and Development Strategy sets out how we meet our statutory obligation as a CCG to promote and support research activity.

In July 2021, our Governing Body approved the CCG research and development strategy which sets out how we meet our statutory obligation as a CCG to promote and support research activity.   

The strategy also sets out aims and objectives for research and development (R&D) within the CCG and how these targets will be achieved.

It is intended to support the transition work to ICS, supporting research in the place of St Helens, and the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan in St Helens.  It also closely aligns with the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) Clinical Research Network Primary Care Strategy which focuses on addressing previous barrier to primary care research, including the lack of academic opportunities for GPs, increase in workload and inadequate research funding.

Regular meetings have been held throughout 2021/22 with PCN Clinical Directors to help identify local healthcare priorities and ensure expressions of interest for NIHR portfolio studies align with these. To support the PCNs in future, approval has been given from Health Education England for innovative GP Plus posts based in St Helens linked with the NIHR Northwest Coast Clinical Research Network. These posts provided funded time for GP trainees to undertake work supporting the delivery of research locally across the PCNs.

Over the past 12 months we have focused on supporting Covid-19 related studies – which has also included two urgent public health studies. We have also collaborated with local higher education institutes to undertake evaluation of local Covid services and recruitment has taken place across 14 separate sites for the following:

  • NIHR Panoramic trial
  • NIHR COVID Oximetry@home
  • NIHR AGILE trial
  • NIHR COVID-19 Germ defence implementation
  • COVID-19 doorstep assessment service evaluation
  • FebriDx point of care CRP and MxA evaluation


Other studies have included:

  • NIHR REDUCE trial
  • NIHR Early Palliative in Non-Cancer conditions
  • NIHR Upstanding GPs
  • NIHR FRONTIIER study - First Contact Physiotherapy
  • Takeda – PCN ADHD service evaluation

And studies with direct benefit to the local population:

  • Two NIHR NWC PhD studentships linked to Edge Hill University working on the St Helens Shared Care Record looking at multimorbidity and health service utilisation across primary and secondary care in St Helens.
  • NIHR-funded Doctoral Fellowship looking at patient experience in community heart failure patients with the University of Liverpool.