The PRIMROSE Programme of Research

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The PRIMROSE project is a five year programme of research funded by the National Institute for Health Research's Programme Grants for Applied Research (RP-PG-0609-10156). 

The research aims to improve the detection and management of cardiovascular disease risk in people with severe mental illnesses in primary care. It will establish the evidence-base needed to design, implement and assess the effectiveness of a new package of care for cardiovascular disease prevention in people with severe mental illness.

The programme is led by Dr David Osborn and researchers at University College London in partnership with Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust and Rethink Mental Illness. Co-investigators are also based at Kings College London, Imperial College London and the University of Southampton.

Why is the research important?


People with severe mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder die early from cardiovascular disease. They have increased risk factors for heart disease and stroke including diabetes, smoking and obesity. They make frequent contact with GP services, yet are less likely to be screened for risk factors or receive interventions such as medication to lower cholesterol (statins).

GP services are expected to address this health inequality and our programme will focus on two key areas of NHS research highlighted by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). These are: the development and validation of accurate risk scores to predict cardiovascular disease risk in people with severe mental illnesses and an assessment of which strategies work to reduce cardiovascular risk factors in this population.