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Survey to identify research priorities for primary care in Scotland during and following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hubbard, Gill; Grist, Fiona; Pope, Lindsey Margaret; Cunningham, Scott; Maxwell, Margaret; Bennie, Marion; Guthrie, Bruce; Mercer, Stewart W.


Gill Hubbard

Fiona Grist

Lindsey Margaret Pope

Margaret Maxwell

Marion Bennie

Bruce Guthrie

Stewart W. Mercer


Objectives To identify research priorities for primary care in Scotland following the COVID-19 pandemic. Design Modified James Lind Alliance methodology; respondents completed an online survey to make research suggestions and rank research themes in order of priority. Setting Scotland primary care. Participants Healthcare professionals in primary care in Scotland and members of primary care patient and public involvement groups. 512 respondents provided research suggestions; 8% (n=40) did not work in health or social care; of those who did work, 68.8% worked in primary care, 16.3% community care, 11.7% secondary care, 4.5% third sector, 4.2% university (respondents could select multiple options). Of those respondents who identified as healthcare professionals, 33% were in nursing and midwifery professions, 25% were in allied health professions (of whom 45% were occupational therapists and 35% were physiotherapists), 20% were in the medical profession and 10% were in the pharmacy profession. Main outcomes Suggestions for research for primary care made by respondents were categorised into themes and subthemes by researchers and ranked in order of priority by respondents. Results There were 1274 research suggestions which were categorised under 12 themes and 30 subthemes. The following five themes received the most suggestions for research: disease and illness (n=461 suggestions), access (n=202), workforce (n=164), multidisciplinary team (MDT; n=143) and integration (n=108). One hundred and three (20%) respondents to the survey participated in ranking the list of 12 themes in order of research priority. The five most highly ranked research priorities were disease and illness, health inequalities, access, workforce and MDTs. The disease and illness theme had the greatest number of suggestions for research and was scored the most highly in the ranking exercise. The subtheme ranked as the most important research priority in the disease and illness theme was 'mental health'. Conclusions The themes and subthemes identified in this study should inform research funders so that the direction of primary healthcare is informed by evidence.


HUBBARD, G., GRIST, F., POPE, L.M., CUNNINGHAM, S., MAXWELL, M., BENNIE, M., GUTHRIE, B., MERCER, S.W. 2022. Survey to identify research priorities for primary care in Scotland during and following the COVID-19 pandemic. BMJ Open [online], 12(5), article number e056817. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 4, 2022
Online Publication Date May 3, 2022
Publication Date May 31, 2022
Deposit Date May 19, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 19, 2022
Journal BMJ Open
Print ISSN 2044-6055
Electronic ISSN 2044-6055
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 5
Article Number e056817
Keywords Primary care research; Scotland; COVID-19; Health policy; Primary care; Qualitative research
Public URL
Additional Information The file accompanying this record contains both the full text of the article as well as the published supplementary materials.


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