Today we launch the new Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) strategy that will take us to the end of the current BRC, and our sister Biomedical Research Unit (BRU), in 2017. And the word “phew” has rarely felt more apposite.
To reach this stage we have consulted our Patients Active in Research (PAIR) group – a committee of patients and health/research professionals working together on an equal footing that guides our activity at a strategic level, the BRC/U Directors and the leaders of the BRC/U research themes and working groups.
The research landscape in Oxford has changed so much in recent years – and PPI is growing so fast across the patch – that we also wanted to ensure our activities were aligned with those of local partners. So we went to the acronym soup of the AHSN (Oxford Academic Health Science Network), AHSC (Oxford Academic Health Science Centre), CLAHRC (Collaboration for Applied Health Research and Care) Oxford, the NIHR CRN (Clinical Research Network): Thames Valley and South Midlands as well as Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. As the host for the BRC, BRU and CRN, this strategy is also being adopted as a set of best practice PPI principles for the Trust.
But the strategy also needed to build on feedback from our funder, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) on the first year of PPI activity for the BRC/U (2012-2013) and show how we would capitalise on the three main activities that we set out there: growing the evidence base for best practice in PPI (see previous blog post) ; developing the work of the James Lind Alliance (JLA)/a JLA “satellite”; setting up a website with and for patients, highlighting PPI opportunities (see previous blog post).
So we spoke to folk in various parts of NIHR, too, and added in strands about building PPI into the BRCs governance, weaving it through our work with the drug and biotech industries and worked with the Trust to sign up to the AllTrials campaign, underpinning our work on openness and transparency in trials.
With thanks to all those who’ve worked so hard to get us to this stage (and hoping to instill a smattering of enthusiasm for PPI in those who haven’t yet), here’s hoping that our new PPI strategy is fit for the only purpose for which it truly matters: making our research better for patients.