Do I have to be Research Ready Accredited to participate in research?

Your pharmacy does not have to be Research Ready accredited to participate in research but it will increase your opportunities to participate.

Research Ready accreditation enables pharmacy teams to reflect on their ability and capacity to conduct high quality research. Therefore, accreditation provides an assurance to researchers and, in clinical trials, MHRA inspection teams that the pharmacy is up-to-date and compliant with national standards for research.

The process of accreditation is also a way of minimising any potential risks for your pharmacy, your team and study participants.

Do I have to pay to become Research Ready?

Research Ready Accreditation is currently free to all UK registered pharmacies.

However, this will be reviewed in 2017 taking into consideration:

  • levels of participation in the scheme;
  • development needs of the scheme;
  • sustainability of the scheme; and
  • quality assurance requirements of accreditation.

What happens if the pharmacy no longer wishes to be Research Ready Accredited?

If the pharmacy no longer wishes to be Research Ready accredited an email should be sent to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society at researchready@rpharms.com providing:

  • the name of the Research Lead;
  • the pharmacy address; and,
  • reasons for withdrawing from the scheme

We will update our records once this information has been recieved. 

You may also wish to notify your local Primary Care Research Network if you no longer wish to participate in research.

If the pharmacy is involved in an active study and no longer wishes to be involved, the Principal Investigator of that study should be notified at the earliest opportunity.  

If I am a Research Lead, can I take the Research Ready accreditation status with me to another pharmacy?

If you are moving to another pharmacy that is not Research Ready accredited you may wish to seek accreditation for this pharmacy. While your experience of the scheme, and participation in research should make the self accreditation process a simpler one second time around, you will still need to ensure that you can meet all the requirements at this new site and submit details of the pharmacy to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

If you are participating in a study but plan to move to another pharmacy you should inform the chief investigator and ensure a comprehensive handover of duties and information to the new Research Lead.

How often do I have to reaccredit the pharmacy?

The premises should be reaccredited every three years and as part of the reaccreditation process the Research Lead will need to complete a refresher course in Good Clinical Practice (GCP).  Details of face-to-face workshops and online training can be found on the NIHR website.  Introductory GCP training is also available and can be done as an alternative. 

Additionally, we will contact you annually and ask you to update the details of your pharmacy.  In doing so, the Research Lead will confirm that the pharmacy premises meets the necessary requirements of Research Ready accreditation.

Will there be opportunities to get involved in service evaluation and audit as well as research?

Research Ready pharmacies may be approached to participate in studies led by a variety of organisations e.g. the NIHR, industry, academia, charities, professional organisations.  Studies may vary - some may be research, evaluation or audit.

The differences between research, evaluation and audit are described in the Health Research Authority leaflet Defining Research.

Approaches from the NIHR will be research only.  Whereas studies from other organisations may include evaluation and audit.

You can decide, on a case-by-case basis, the studies that you wish the pharmacy to be involved in.

Who will pay for the pharmacy's research involvement?

Research studies involving community pharmacy tend to be funded either by commerical sponsors such as drug manufacturers or as 'non-commerical studies', i.e. NHS-based studies, through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).  Further information on NIHR funded research programmes can be found on the NIHR website.

There are many issues that must be costed into a pharmacy’s participation in a study. Time for training, administration of study protocols, writing relevant SOPs, and meeting with study investigators or receiving MHRA monitoring visit teams are all examples of less obvious research costs that must be met by the fee from investigators.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has published a 'Primary Care Resource Requirement Template' which can be downloaded and used to record and calculate NHS costs associated with studies in primary care. 

How do I find out about studies that I can get involved with?

Your Primary Care Research Network can tell you about studies that you could get involved in locally.

We will also put alerts about studies on our website and we may, from time-to-time, contact you directly about studies that you may wish to be involved in.

Are there any eligibility criteria for participating pharmacies?

The Research Ready initiative is for UK community pharmacies registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council or the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland.

We would advise Internet pharmacies not to apply, as there are unlikely to be suitable studies.

We would not exclude pharmacies without an NHS contract, but the types of studies they can get involved in might be limited.

Pharmacies without a regular pharmacist manager may find it difficult to achieve the consistent professional oversight needed for studies.

If there are any performance issues relating to delivery of the pharmacy contract, or any legal or professional action pending for the pharmacy staff, we would advise that pharmacy not to apply.

Our pharmacy does not have a regular pharmacist - can the pharmacy still become Research Ready accredited?

Your pharmacy does not have to have a regular pharmacist in place to become Research Ready accredited. Either Registered Pharmacists or Pharmacy Technicians can take on the role of Research Lead in the pharmacy.

The Research Lead need not be in the pharmacy on a full-time basis. However, it is the Research Lead's responsibility to ensure that there are appropriate resources (time, staffing, training etc) in place, and relevant team members are aware of their roles and responsibilities in any planned research activity.

Therefore, if the pharmacy does not have a regular pharmacist, this may limit the types of studies that the pharmacy can participate in.

Our pharmacy cannot meet all the required criteria – can the pharmacy still become Research Ready accredited?

If you are unable to meet any of the key areas of the assessment, but still wish to be accredited, you can include a brief explanation next to the relevant area when you complete the online self-accreditation. Once you have submitted the assessment a member of the Research Ready team will call you to discuss any issues you may have.

Section 3 – Patient Medication Record - is non-essential for Research Ready accreditation. The ability to explore PMR systems to generate lists of people with certain characteristics or medicines/conditions is very variable. We would not exclude a pharmacy from Research Ready if they weren’t able to do these searches, but it could limit the type of studies in which they could get involved. In general practice, projects often involve searching the patient records to find people who fit certain criteria (e.g. age, condition) and then the staff send out invitation letters to all those people who fit the criteria. This can be done at a time that suits the practice, slotted into its workload. In pharmacies where these searches cannot be done, all the recruitment would have to be when patients present in the pharmacy.

If you intend to use the PMR for research purposes then you must complete Section 3.