Research Practice

Supporting research in primary care

Cromer Group Practice actively support clinical research studies within primary care.

The NHS constitution states that research is a core function of the NHS. Clinical research is a major driver of innovation, and central to NHS practice for maintaining and developing high standards of patient care. Ultimately, clinical research means patients get access to new treatments, interventions and medicines. Investment in research means better, more cost effective care for patients.

What is primary care research?

A wide range of research studies are supported which look at:

  • Promoting a healthier lifestyle.
  • Disease diagnosis and prevention.
  • Management of long-term illnesses e.g. diabetes or hypertension.
  • Prevention of future ill-health.
  • Treating common conditions such as tonsillitis or influenza.

What are the benefits of GP practices taking part in research?

  • It offers patients new treatments.
  • It brings new dimension to practice and added skills to those involved.
  • It provides national gold standard training for research.
  • It offers mentorship and support to those involved in research within practice.

How can you help and take part at Cromer Group Practice

  • A doctor or nurse may talk to you about a particular study and ask whether you would be interested in participating.
  • You may be sent information through the post if we feel you may be a suitable participant.
  • You may read information about a current study in the patient waiting room or on the surgery website. If you wish to take part please contact your GP or the research nurse.

All clinical research carried out at Cromer Group Practice is thoroughly checked and approved by ethical committees, thus ensuring it is appropriate and safe to perform.

Your participation is entirely voluntary and can be withdrawn by yourself at any time without any explanation required.

You are under no obligation to participate in any research project.

Your care and your relationship with your doctor or nurse will not be affected in any way if you decided not to take part in a research study. You will always receive clear information about what taking part in a research study would involve. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and obtain further details about a study.

If you do agree to take part in a study, you will be asked to sign a consent form. This will clearly state which parts of your notes (if any) may be looked at for the purpose of the research study. Nobody from outside the practice will be given your contact details or have access to your medical records without prior consent.

For full information please view our information status.

We are very grateful to any of our patients that have taken part in these studies in the past and would encourage patients to become involved in the future.

Information for Asthma Patients

This practice is participating in the ARRISA-UK research study, funded by the NHS’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

What is the study about?

Asthma attacks hospitalise someone every 8 minutes in the UK; nearly 68,000 people are admitted to hospital because of asthma attacks every year.
The ARRISA-UK study uses a new method of identifying and responding to people who are likely to have a severe asthma attack that leads to hospitalisation. A pop-up alert will appear on the computer system whenever one of these patients makes contact with someone at the practice, for example the receptionist.

GPs, nurses, reception and other staff are trained in how to respond to these alerts. It is hoped that this will lower the number of severe asthma attacks.

The study involves over 180,000 people with asthma from 275 GP practices. Practices are randomly allocated (have a 50:50 chance) to either using the steps above or carrying on as usual. As the ARRISA-UK method is aimed at practice staff (GPs, nurses, reception and administrative staff) rather than patients directly, you may not notice any changes to the care you receive.

What does this mean for patients?

To see if the new method is effective, we need to count the number of times people are admitted to hospital for asthma in all 275 GP practices over a two year period.

We will be linking the data that is routinely collected from hospital records to that collected in GP practices. We need the help of NHS Digital to do this. Note: The researchers do not receive any data that would identify you personally. No action is required on your part.

The Process

  • Each GP practice uploads asthma patient data (NHS number, date of birth and sex) to a ‘portal’ provided by Harvey Walsh Ltd using a secure NHS broadband network, so it cannot be ‘hacked’.
  • NHS Digital will receive and match the data from the GP practices with the records of hospital visits that it holds for ARRISA-UK patients
  • NHS Digital will remove the identifiers and send only the anonymous data to UEA
  • All patient identifiable data will then be deleted.

Security and Data Protection

  • The ‘portal’ provided by Harvey Walsh Ltd can only be accessed by NHS Digital.
  • Harvey Walsh Ltd is a NHS trusted company, already contracted by the NHS to routinely handle medical data which is similar to the data we will be needing for our analysis.
  • Harvey Walsh and UEA Norwich Clinical Trials Unit have relevant NHS clearances to receive your data.
  • The researchers at UEA receive only DE-IDENTIFIED data and you cannot be identified
  • At no point will your name or address leave the GP practice.
  • The study has been approved by the Health Research Authority, following guidance from the Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG), an independent body which provides expert advice on the use of confidential patient information

What to do if you want to opt out of your personal data being used in this way?

  • If you do not want your data to be used in this way or included in the study, you have the option to withdraw from sharing your confidential information. This will not affect the care you receive in any way. Only your GP surgery will know whether you choose to opt out or not. Please ask a member of the reception team about how to do this.

How to find out more

More information about the study can be found on their website at

Telephone: Dr Stanley Musgrave (01603 593309)/Dr Polly Ashford (01603 597666)


The University’s Data Protection Officer can also be contacted at