Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

As a physician associate in primary care, much of the job is service provision, making it very difficult to pursue other interests within the clinical day. There is also often a lack of opportunity in primary care surgeries to get involved in research due to them being smaller organisations.

Introducing PACT (Primary Care Academic Collaborative), an inclusive organisation that welcomes any primary care clinician to join in with our work.

Dr. Jon Dickson published an interesting piece about this in the May 2023 British Journal of General Practice likening primary care to a sleeping giant, explaining that primary care clinicians are well placed to be involved in research, but making this come to fruition is tricky due to the lack of funding dedicated to research. So this is where PACT comes in. PACT unites any clinician in primary care who wants to be involved in research with other like-minded clinicians.

Physician Associate Ria Agarwal said: “Membership is free and open to any primary care PA across the UK. Being a member means you’ll be signposted to opportunities to get involved in research and co-publish with others. Our PACT chair, Dr. Jess Watson co-published this recent piece on blood test requesting in Primary Care.

“This work raises some interesting points about the plethora of clinicians requesting blood tests in primary care and whether all of these are deemed clinically necessary. It felt particularly relevant to me as a primary care PA filing blood tests sometimes requested by other clinicians, as well as my previous experience training PA students and teaching blood test interpretation on the Sheffield PA preceptorship scheme.

“And remember, even if you just want to be kept in the loop with primary care research rather than becoming directly involved, PACT membership means you will receive a regular newsletter with information about this. From being a PACT member, I have also learned about free courses involving healthcare research. Scan the QR code (left) to find out more.”

Ria contines: “I initially joined the organisation as a PACT Champion after seeing an advert on Twitter (as it was called at the time!). As a Champion I was asked to spread the word about PACT, which I have tried to do across PAs through the FPA Research Committee, as well as clinicians in the South Yorkshire region. Whilst this is not a paid role, it is a pleasure to be a part of an organisation that includes all primary care clinicians and essentially acts as a hub for sharing potential research opportunities.

“Following a couple of years as a PACT champion, I then applied to join the PACT committee as their cretary. We meet monthly on an evening to discuss what PACT projects are happening/due to happen, as well as how we can continue to spread the word about PACT at upcoming conferences and events, amongst other things! The PACT team are also keen to diversify their membership.

I was delighted to see a PA participate in the Why Test study! And you could also be a part of this fantastic world of research. I would love to see more PAs join.”

PACT is a collaborative research network of enthusiastic primary care team members who want to participate in high impact projects and learn more about research. Established in 2019, PACT now has over 650 members across the United Kingdom and is continuing to grow. Sign up now! No research experience is required to be a PACT member. You can sign up using the QR code.

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