the evidence

to drive better care

In the


Primary Care Research

Why do we do it?

We do it because understanding what works and what doesn’t work is crucial to effective change. And to have a sustainable NHS, we need it to work! How does an organisation evolve and improve without researching into the challenges it faces?

Once we understand what patients want and need, and the best ways to deliver it, we can share the findings far and wide and make as big an impact as possible.

Who benefits?

Patients. Staff. You. Me. Research is critical in healthcare. Not only in the development of drugs or equipment, which may be the first things that come to mind when you hear the word ‘research’. But also the development of appropriate methods of care for patients based on their behaviours. How do people want to be communicated to? What do they expect from their healthcare providers? 

Patients benefit from research when we convert our findings into implementation of improved service. Staff benefit when we change the way we behave as an employer to improve their job health. Everyone wins as long as we keep striving to find the best ways to improve the NHS.

Research Partners

Imperial College Health Partners

Created by the NHS to support complex change across the health and care sector – innovating and collaborating for a healthier population.

We are uniquely placed to understand the challenges within the NHS, its structures, processes, policies and culture and help solve complex problems.

Self Care Academic Research Unit (SCARU)

SCARU is a three-way collaboration between Imperial College London School of Public Health, the UK Self-Care Forum (SCF), and the International Self-Care Foundation (ISF)

A focus on research into self care. In particular we are working on evaluating impact of micro-learning on social media platforms.


Hiyos Helpers evaluation

Hiyos offered patients the opportunity to volunteer to support other patients, in September 2020. The Hiyos Helpers programme which followed was evaluated by Imperial Health Care Partners (ICHP). You can download the full report here.

It has resulted in benefits for patients with more support for areas such as digital services. Volunteers gained skills which enabled some to go on to work in the NHS! Not only that, but existing staff felt more motivated.

We have an onboarding and training pack for other practices who may also be considering a volunteering programme.

GP patient volunteers



Understand your patient and staff needs. Review data and ensure that resource is available. 6-7 hours of staff time a week
to set up, plus 1-2 days to update
documents and post jobs.


Patient checklist

Documentation and induction. Training on practice policies and information around safeguarding. Have a project lead.
We have a training guide which we’re
happy to share.


Going live

Work through logistics, rotas and communication. Inform staff. Match
interests and skills of volunteers to tasks.



Measure volunteer, patient and staff feedback. Share learning.

Hiyos Live – Interim evaluation

Hiyos Live Channel is our digital channel which produces weekly content for the purpose of increasing the health and wellbeing awareness of the general population. Read more about the types of events it runs and what’s upcoming. The channel focus is to address health inequalities based on the broad areas of environment, education and employment raised in Professor Marmot’s report.

We know health inequalities exist, and we know they impact population health. But can the health service, and in particular primary care, combat them by revolutionising the way they provide care?

We think it can, and that’s what we’re ever striving to prove!

The research and evaluation that we’re doing with Imperial Healthcare Partners (ICHP) and Imperial SCARU aims to assess the impact of Hiyos Live’s content on individual health and wellbeing outcomes. How are digital inclusion interventions addressing inequalities and leading to improvements in health and wellbeing among the general population?

The content and activities we provide through the Hiyos Live project include social media content with short informative videos, bogs, podcasts; together with live webinars. We also offer webinars and face to face (F2F) events and workshops with socialisation opportunities. 

You can read the full report in November 2022. The final report will be available in September 2023.


We have had a promising start to our webinars and are now moving to a hybrid model with face to face sessions as well as going into schools


people signed up to 3 work experience workshops


attended work
experience webinars.


attendees in 10 environment workshops.

Online surveys

Over the past few years we’ve done many surveys online, and each time we’ve managed to get over 2000 responses within just a few days. People really do want to help with research and we love that. Here are some summaries of recent surveys: 

Sexual health survey

Sexually transmitted infection can sometimes result in long term illness and you often don’t have any symptoms. To prevent this you need to go for a test every now and then. We had over 2,000 responses to our sexual health survey, and the results show that 80% of people had never been screened! There’s still some stigma around sexual health.

We teamed up local sexual health consultants to raise awareness and make it easier to get tested.

COVID Survey

A survey done in the early on in the pandemic. We had 2,000 responses . Patients wanted information online and webinars. Interestingly many people were interested in group sessions such as exercise, cooking and art classes.

This is why we started our HIYOS Live channel!

3 years on, we are now exploring having a hybrid model to deliver group sessions.

Flu vaccine survey

A survey to help us understand patient views on the flu vaccine during the pandemic.

Over 90% said they wanted it. More than previous years. We asked the reasons behind those who did not want a flu vaccine.

COVID vaccine Survey

A survey at the beginning of the pandemic, before the vaccine was available – we asked people about their attitude to having the vaccine in the future.

Again, 2,000 people responded and 25% of people said they didn’t want it. We explored the reasons why. This helped us provide more relevant information when the vaccine was available.

Some of the things we have done….

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