Welcome to the Revolution

26 Feb

by Richard Morley, James Lind Alliance Adviser


Final 10 priorities from a previous Priority Setting Partnership

As the James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) in Patient Safety in Primary Care gets underway, I am delighted to be able to start a series of blogs about our work. It’s my privilege to be the partnership’s JLA Adviser and Chair of the Steering Group, and to help navigate a committed group of patients and health professionals through the JLA method and to change the research agenda for the benefit of primary care patient safety.

My first encounter with the JLA was in 2011, working with the JLA Pressure Ulcer PSP. I was interested to see how social media might help us to engage with our stakeholders and set up a Twitter account. In just a few short days we received our first Tweet. It said “Welcome to the revolution”. And while we may not be engaged in a mutiny, our work will, in its own way, be contributing to a sea-change in the way that research priorities are identified.

Why James Lind?

In 1747, Royal Navy Surgeon James Lind aboard the Salisbury, conducted the first recorded trial in to the treatment of scurvy.  His trial involved 12 sailors, chosen to be as similar as possible, and given the same diet, and who were allocated to six groups and given a range of common remedies. Lemons and limes proved effective and the eventually lime juice formed part of the standard diet of Royal Navy Sailors (http://www.jameslindlibrary.org/articles/who-was-james-lind-and-what-exactly-did-he-achieve/). This saved thousands of lives and so Lind is a revolutionary hero of evidence based medicine.

Why the James Lind Alliance?

It was for this reason that Sir Iain Chalmers (also founder of Cochrane http://www.cochrane.org/) chose James Lind to be the figure-head of the James Lind Alliance when he, along with Dr John Scadding (then Dean of the Royal Society of Medicine) and Sir Nick Partridge (former Chair of INVOLVE), formed the JLA in 2014. He believed that research on the effects of treatments often overlooks the shared interests of patients, carers and clinicians. As a result, questions that they all consider important may not be addressed and many areas of potentially important research can be neglected. More recently Chalmers and Glasziou have identified how answering questions that are not the priority of patients and health professionals contributes to massive waste in research (http://researchwaste.net). The JLA helps address this imbalance.

Research priority setting in action

The JLA helps bring together partnerships of patients, carers and health professionals to identify and prioritise unanswered questions about health research. The ultimate goal is a list of the most important ten shared priorities that the partnership will subsequently promote for future research.

50 partnerships have either completed or are currently underway from Acne to Womb Cancer. The Patient Safety in Primary Care partnership will therefore be following an established route over the next year. More information about the James Lind Alliance and the JLA method can be found here: http://www.jla.nihr.ac.uk/.

Get involved!

Finally, if you are reading this, then you are probably a health professional, carer or patient with an interest in patient safety in primary care. This is your chance to be a part of that revolution and change the nature of research. Do follow @JLA_PtSafetyPSP on Twitter and visit the partnership’s website at http://www.population-health.manchester.ac.uk/PatientSafetyPSP where you will find out more information and, very soon, tell us what you would like to see researched.

2 Responses to “Welcome to the Revolution”


  1. What are patient and clinician priorities for research in primary care patient safety? | GM PSTRC - December 9, 2016

    […] Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) (to find out more about the JLA read Richard Morley’s blog ‘Welcome to the Revolution’). The aim of our PSP is to ask ‘what are the questions that patients and clinicians have about […]

  2. How can we improve safe communication and co-ordination of care between primary and secondary care? | GM PSTRC - April 19, 2017

    […] in the James Lind Alliance Primary Care Patient Safety Priority Setting Partnership blog series: Part One, Part Two, Part […]

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