Primary care in the UK generates an extraordinary amount of data from more than 300 million consultations annually, creating unrivalled opportunities for research. The number of patients who consult primary care practitioners daily, the variety of clinical conditions, the diversity of populations and the gradual transfer from hand written records to comprehensive electronic medical systems has heralded a new era in primary care research.
Furthermore, the linkage of some primary and secondary care data systems creates new opportunities for prospective and retrospective studies and epidemiological insights into population health.
Led by Professors Brendan Delaney and Frank Sullivan, The Farr Institute’s UK-wide Primary Care Working Group aimed to increase and improve existing interactions amongst Farr Institute investigators with an interest in primary care data.
The group also fostered and developed working collaborations and opportunities for future research proposals with stakeholders and affiliates interested in primary care data. Such stakeholders included the British Medical Association; the Royal College of General Practitioners; the National Institute for Health Research; Scottish Clinical Information Management in Practice; and Clinical Practice Research Datalink.
In the absence of a comprehensive listing of primary care datasets and associated metadata (data describing the datasets), the Primary Care Working Group conducted an internet-based scoping study to create a resource of datasets for both novice and experienced primary care researchers. Throughout this project, which was concluded in May 2016, the group systematically identified, described and have facilitated access to a wide variety of healthcare datasets based in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
To browse the primary care dataset catalogue, please download the PDF:
Datasets That May Be of Interest to Primary Care Researchers in the UK – May 2016