Public Involvement in Research Group (PIRG)

Background to patient and public involvement

Patient and public involvement (PPI) in the NHS and care services is becoming increasingly important. At the same time, PPI is becoming a requirement for most bodies that fund health research. It is recognised that members of the public, patients and carers can play a significant role in the design and conduct of all types of applied health research.

Patients and the public, academics and health service professionals, have much to learn from each other and through working together, we can ensure that research is relevant and that it answers key questions more effectively.

The work of the PIRg

The Public Involvement in Research Group (PIRg) was established by CRIPACC in 2005. Its work is varied but, most importantly, the group collaborates with researchers to bring lay voices and opinions to studies, which helps to keep them grounded and in touch with patient and public perspectives.

The PIRg adopts a 'hub and spoke' approach to membership and involvement. The 'hub' is a permanent centralised group with a core membership of around 15 people.  The 'spokes' utilise local users of services, and existing PPI groups and networks for specific projects. These spoke members increase diversity and participation when and where appropriate.

Dr Julia Jones is the Chair of the PIRg and the group is co-ordinated by Sonya Prime.

Activities undertaken by PIRg hub members

Members of the hub group are involved in a variety of ways depending on their experience, interests and capacity. Support and training (where appropriate) are given to members. Typical activities include:

  • Discussing ideas for research proposals before a bid is written
  • Reviewing bids, protocols, patient information sheets, and report
  • Helping to develop topic guides/questions/research tools
  • Representing the lay view on research project management groups
  • Acting as a co-researcher (where appropriate) – this may include assisting in recruitment, helping to gain consent, chairing focus groups, undertaking data analysis, ensuring vulnerable participants are supported
  • Sharing experiences with researchers
  • Assisting and commenting on poster design and abstracts
  • Helping to present research findings at conferences
  • Making recommendations for dissemination of research results
  • Representing CRIPACC – this may include interagency collaboration and cross working with other educational organisations
  • Working collaboratively with other research networks
  • Providing the lay perspective on a number of post graduate courses including and the Doctorate in Health Research

Are you interested in joining the PIRg?

If so, please contact Sonya Prime for further information

Information for local Researchers

Are you a researcher looking for public involvement in your research?

PIRg members are people with a variety of backgrounds and experiences, and they are involved in a range of health-related projects and at any stage of the research process.

Contact Sonya Prime for more information.

For more general information about PPI in research, please visit the INVOLVE website. INVOLVE is a national organisation supporting PPI in health and social care research, and has a wealth of information to support researchers to collaborate with patients and the public in the research process.

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