Blue sky research for primary care

Download Blue Sky Research for Primary Care (Professor Graham Watt, October 2011)

Academic Primary Care is a distinct discipline which combines basic primary care science with applied research principles to drive constant improvement in primary care. In this report Professor Graham Watt recognised there is already significant support for applied PC research. But highlights a gap in the research funding mechanisms needed to develop and sustain the basic research underpinning generalist clinical practice. Support which is needed if we are to maximise the opportunity for APC to offer solutions to the complex problems facing today’s primary care. The report outlines some of the key issues involved in addressing these concerns. And ends with examples of published basic science studies as an illustration of the topics fund bodies need to address.

SAPC wrote a response to Professor Watt's report - published in Primary Health Care Research and Development. Our report discusses the challenges for the APC community itself in responding to the highlighted gap in basic research within primary care. Reeve and Mallen propose that capacity for blue sky thinking is essential to distinguish a distinct discipline of academic primary care from, for example, health services research undertaken in a primary care context. They highlight work led by SAPC to create space for blue sky thinking, for example at the Dangerous Ideas soapbox at SAPC Conferences.