Studying effectiveness, organisation and delivery of care

Over 90% of patient contacts in the NHS are in primary, urgent or emergency care, and demand is increasing. We use quantitative and qualitative approaches to research how this part of the healthcare system can be most effective, efficient and sustainable. We collaborate with NHS partners to deliver research responding to real-world challenges – research which is policy- relevant, patient-centred, and has impact. PRIME Centre has received more than £4.8m infrastructure funding.

3 ambulances with mountains in background

Areas of Research Focus

All of our research has a strong patient focus, and we work with patients and the public, from developing ideas into proposals, through delivering research and then disseminating findings to maximise impact in the real world.

Running across all these themes are commitments to new methods in research, particularly the use of anonymised linked data, and to working with patients and service users in planning and delivering research.

Our research programme has led to:

  • Impact on policy and practice in the real world, e.g. 999 care of people who have fallen; pre-hospital care of patients with myocardial infarction; avoiding emergency admissions
  • Methodological development – in particular, working with HDRUK and the SAIL team, incorporation of anonymised linked outcomes in experimental and quasi-experimental research studies including SAFER 2, PRISMATIC, TIME, STRETCHED
  • Capacity building and career development in the Swansea Health Services Research team and in ambulance services. We have supported the 999 EMS Research Forum for over 20 years, and organise an annual conference with open peer reviewed submissions from researchers working in emergency prehospital care
Research talking to results
  • Attraction of significant infrastructure and project funding to Swansea University through PRIME Centre Wales and related studies.

Informing Prudent Investment in Primary Care

Primary care clinicians have been encouraged to use predictive risk stratification software to help them target care and so reduce emergency admissions to hospital. Our  study evaluated this approach in one area of Wales, and found that it led to increased admissions and increased costs. As a result, policy in Wales changed, so predictive risk stratification is no longer encouraged in primary care, saving an estimated £200 million per year in avoided additional hospital admissions, days spent in hospital and other healthcare contacts.

Xray of pelvis

Improving Emergency Care for People with Hip Fracture

Professor Helen Snooks has worked with the Welsh Ambulance Service and Swansea Bay University Health Board to develop and test the safety and feasibility of paramedic administered fascia iliaca block (anaesthetic) to provide pain relief at the scene of 999 calls for people with suspected hip fracture. The RAPID feasibility trial, funded by Health and Care Research Wales (£230,000) and carried out in the Swansea area, has led to the development and funding of a large scale multi centre definitive randomised trial with 5 ambulance service and Emergency Department sites across England and Wales. A team led by Professor Snooks and supported by Swansea Trials Unit has been awarded £1.8 million by the National Institute for Health Research through its Health Technology Assessment programme to undertake the RAPID 2 trial over the next 4 years. This programme of work has also included doctoral training and studies, leading to the award of PhD to Dr Jenna Jones, in 2021.

Our Primary and Emergency Care Research Experts

Professor Hayley Hutchings

Professor, Health Data Science
+44 (0) 1792 513412
Available For Postgraduate Supervision

Dr Alison Porter

Associate Professor in Health Services Research, Health Data Science
+44 (0) 1792 602057
Available For Postgraduate Supervision

Professor Helen Snooks

Professor of Health Services Research, Health Data Science
+44 (0) 1792 513418
Available For Postgraduate Supervision