Experts gather to mark the launch PRIME Centre Wales

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Swansea University academics have joined with other expert researchers, clinicians, NHS staff, patients and carers to mark the launch of PRIME Centre Wales.

The new research centre is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of people in Wales and beyond, by conducting high quality research on topics of national policy priority in primary, emergency and unscheduled care.

PRIME Centre Wales is led by Cardiff University, alongside partner universities Swansea, Bangor, and South Wales, with £2.7M funding awarded over three years by Health and Care Research Wales.

Other invited speakers at the meeting include Professor Jean White, Chief Nursing Officer, Welsh Government; Professor Niro Siriwardena, Professor of Primary and Pre-Hospital Health Care, University of Lincoln; Mr Simon Denegri, NIHR National Director for Patients and the Public in Research and Chair, INVOLVE; Dr Ruth Hussey, Chief Medical Officer, Welsh Government; and Dr Fiona Godlee, Editor in Chief, The BMJ.

Research in the area or primary, emergency and unscheduled medicine is crucial as 90% of people’s contacts with the NHS takes place in the community, rather than in hospital. With an ageing population, the numbers of people with complex health and social care problems is increasing. Strong primary, emergency and unscheduled care are essential to an effective and efficient health service.

Much of the management of long term conditions such as diabetes, asthma, COPD, epilepsy and heart disease has shifted from hospitals to primary care. Rehabilitation and promotion of self-management are increasingly also managed in the community. Appropriate use of and responses provided by unscheduled and emergency care services are critical to the provision of high quality and timely emergency care, as well as to efficient primary, secondary and social care services.

The centre will build on existing areas of scientific excellence in Wales with core research themes centred on long term conditions, patient centred and prudent health care, infections and antibiotic resistance, emergency and unscheduled (including pre-hospital) care, patient safety and health care improvement, as well as prevention, screening and early diagnosis.

Minister for Health and Social Services, Mark Drakeford, said: “This is an exciting development, which together with other high-quality health research taking place across Wales, will help our NHS to address current and future challenges. PRIME Centre Wales will engage professionals and translate its findings into good practice focused on excellent patient outcomes.”

Professor Helen Snooks from Swansea University Medical School and Associate Director of PRIME Centre Wales: “We are delighted to be working with colleagues across Wales in the newly funded PRIME Centre Wales, and to be leading the emergency and unscheduled care research theme from Swansea.  This funding will allow us to further build our programme of patient centred research with key partners including the Welsh Ambulance Service and ABMU  in this area that is so relevant to the health care needs of people in Wales and beyond”

Health and Care Research Wales is a national, multi-faceted, virtual organisation funded and overseen by the Welsh Government.