Encouraging more research in a particular health area is usually the objective that James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs) have when they begin identifying what future research is important to patients, carers and clinicians. However, people who have been involved in PSPs say their work has made a difference in other ways too. It has increased awareness of the health issues they are interested in and encouraged relationships with other stakeholders in the area. Patients have felt empowered by the contributions they have made to PSPs and it has changed the way in which patients and health professionals view and understand each other.
“The results of our Palliative and end of life care Priority Setting Partnership with the James Lind Alliance have triggered a number of conversations with other charities interested in funding research in palliative and end of life care and have directly led to a joint call with the Chief Scientist Office in Scotland and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.”
Sabine Best, Head of Research, Marie Curie
“I found that being involved has given me back an element of control over my illness. This is so much more than I imagined I could ever have done when I first became ill. The workshop left me feeling that we patients have an important contribution to make.”
Irenie Ekkeshis, Sight Loss and Vision PSP
“After my husband died I wanted to use my experience of this dreadful disease to try and help shape future treatments and further research for mesothelioma patients. I found it extremely refreshing that patients, carers, health professionals and clinicians were all working together to identify the top research priorities.”
Heather Foot, Mesothelioma PSP
“The week after the JLA workshop, a patient came to see me in a clinic, and wanted a change of antipsychotic medication because of sexual dysfunction. Without the experience of the JLA process, it is unlikely that this issue would have been afforded as much weight as it was.”
Keith Lloyd, Schizophrenia PSP
“This has changed how I practice medicine. It has changed my understanding of what it means to listen to patients. It has changed the language I use when I speak with them. Most importantly it has changed my vision of how to deliver the care we give them. It has made it our vision.”
Noémi Roy, Rare Inherited Anaemias PSP
"Having been involved in several PSPs over the years, including vitiligo, eczema, cellulitis, psoriasis and lichen sclerosus, I am a big fan of the JLA and the work that it does. To me, getting the right question is all important in research. If you have an important question that people would like to know the answer to, then everything else that follows will be worthwhile."
Professor Kim Thomas, Co-Director of the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology, University of Nottingham.
“I initiated a JLA PSP in Lyme disease in 2010. Our biggest difficulty was getting clinicians involved - they were convinced there were no uncertainties. However, the quality and rigour of the JLA process enabled a sea change in the Department of Health’s view of Lyme disease which was immensely useful in moving things forward."
Stella Huyshe-Shires, Chair, Lyme Disease Action
An important aspect of the work of a PSP is identifying the relevant systematic reviews to extract and confirm research uncertainties for the prioritisation process. This requires comprehensive searches of the literature to be carried out. The Cellulitis PSP, co-ordinated by the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology took the opportunity to create a public online database of cellulitis systematic reviews, mapped by topic.
This database represents a very useful long-term outcome of the work done for the PSP.