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Joint PRA event a success for networks

Joint PRA event a success for networks

The latest Patient Research Ambassador (PRA) event for the pan-London and Kent, Surrey and Sussex networks took place on November 14th 2019.

The PRA event gave volunteers a chance to come together to share knowledge and workshop ideas to maximise their roles. The event was hosted at Guy’s Hospital in London by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Networks (CRNs) in South London, North Thames, North West London and Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

PRAs are patients, carers and members of the public who volunteer to help promote health and care research to patients and the public. The PRA scheme is a great way of getting more people engaged with research, especially groups who are currently less likely to take part.

Robert Pleass, Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Lead at CRN South London, said: “Patient Research Ambassadors play an important role in promoting research from a patient's point of view, and as a network we want to play our part in supporting them to do that effectively within their NHS Trusts.

“I was really pleased with how the event went and would like to say thank you to everyone who attended. Our delegates were really engaged and came up with some interesting ideas, highlighting the benefits of working collaboratively across the Pan-London and Kent, Surrey and Sussex regions.”

The first session of the day was delivered by Gillian Fletcher, CRN Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Gillian shared how PRAs can work effectively with their respective Trusts, emphasising the importance of building relationships.

This was followed by a workshop to develop ideas to promote the PRA scheme and to share what currently works well. Ideas put forward included a PRA impact award scheme, better links with community groups and more engagement with frontline staff.

A demonstration of the Research Champions Toolkit came later, delivered by Karen Inns - the Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Priority Lead at the NIHR CRN. The toolkit provides guidance, information and support to PRAs.

Following this came a session delivered by Juliette Nibbs, a PRA, focussing on the importance of improving equality and diversity.

An in-depth look at the national questions for the Patient Research Experience Survey (PRES) came later in the afternoon. Attendees worked in small groups to develop ideas for improvement.

The success of this event highlights the advantages of collaborative working. Plans are in place for another to take place next year.