Welcome to the Research Institute for Primary Care & Health Sciences Blog

This blog was created to keep healthcare professionals, researchers, methodologists, and patients up to date with the latest primary care research. For more information about the Research Institute, visit our website; keele.ac.uk/pchs

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Helping medical students discover general practice

Written by Rebecca Woodbridge and Meg Robertson | Keele Medical School | www.keele.ac.uk/pchs | @PCSciences

Keele GP Society recently held the Central RCGP ‘Discover GP’ Conference at Keele Medical School in collaboration with GP societies from Nottingham, Warwick, Leicester and Birmingham. The event was organised by the society (President; Rebecca Woodbridge, Vice president; Meg Robertson) in conjunction with the RCGP student team. On Saturday 16th February, around 90 attendees came to the day-long event, with the premise of providing medical students and foundation doctors more information about a potential future career in general practice.


The day kicked off with a lovely welcome from Brigadier Robin Simpson QHS, the vice chair of the Midlands RCGP Faculty & Postgraduate Dean for the UKs Medical Defence Service. This was followed by a mini-plenary session from Dr Adam Thomas, discussing ‘Life as a Trainee’ GP and details concerning the current GP training pathway. We then moved onto the topic of social prescribing & how we can promote this initiative, wonderfully presented by Keele GP Societies Social Prescribing Representative (Philza Kayani) & Dr Fiona Hay. Our last talk of the morning ‘The Travelling Medic; Tales from the Tropics, Travel medicine & occupational health’ by Dr Andrew Benc. Students were able to learn more about travel opportunities in other countries & what challenges you can face when working in resource-poor settings. We received very positive and encouraging feedback from students & we still had a full day of activities ahead of us!

Design your career

After a short break, we commenced the ‘Design your Career’ workshops. We recruited 19 GPs from the region to get involved in talking to students about their areas of specialist interest. As a society, we are passionate about highlighting to students the vast amount of opportunities within general practice, including how you can develop your own personal interests alongside a career as a GP. Students could choose 3 workshops to attend during the afternoon which included; palliative care and womens health, rural medicine and working with the WHO, gynaecology/paediatrics and sexual health, academic GP, military medicine, travel/tropical medicine and occupational health, ENT and outreach medicine, sports and exercise medicine and a ‘speed mentoring’ workshop. The latter workshop included several GPs and students had the opportunity to speak to numerous specialities including trainee GPs, emergency medicine/urgent care, GP appraisal, minor injuries/sports events medicine, working as a GP partner and working with the RCGP. 

Supporting local families 

 There was also the opportunity to take part in the charity raffle, raising money for a local charity, ‘The Gingerbread Centre’ (represented by our mascot for the day, ‘Biscuits’!). The charity aims to support and provide accommodation to local vulnerable families and pregnant women tackling homelessness in Stoke-on-Trent. Prizes were donated by the Gingerbread Centre, Keele GP Society, Pulse Notes, MDU and BMA. In total a fantastic amount of £108.70 was raised, all for a truly deserving cause!

Stimulating discussions

The last activities of the day included a talk from Brigadier Simpson on ‘GP and the veteran’, discussing how GPs can provide optimal care to patients who have served in the military. Lastly, there was a panel discussion in which students could send in questions to a panel of 5 GPs, lead by Dr Jodie-Blackadder (First 5 Chair, education lead of the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine). There were numerous stimulating questions asked by students such as ‘what advice can you give to students about a career in general practice’ and more challenging topics such as ‘regrets and difficulties of being a GP’. As the day tied to a close, students were welcome to attend a networking event in the local students union.

During the lunch time break, Professor Protheroe and Professor Chew-Graham kindly judged our poster presentation competition in which we had two joint winners: Dr Sana Sheikh and a Keele medical student, Jacqualan Walsh-House.

This was the first time Keele GP Society have hosted such a large event & as a society, we are very proud of what we have achieved! We have received a lot of positive feedback from students about the different talks and workshops that were available to attend. Our goal for this conference was to show students how a career in general practice can open up endless opportunities & hopefully hearing from esteemed GPs within our local region, has allowed attendees to see how much promise and excitement there is in this career pathway! We are fully fledged #TeamGP! 

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Strengthening links with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Written by Keele's Impact Accelerator Unit | www.keele.ac.uk/pchs | @PCHS

The Impact Accelerator Unit (IAU) were excited to welcome three colleagues from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (Fran Hallam the Research into Practice Officer,  Ciara Younge the Professional Lead for Student Engagement, and Shan Aguilar-Stone the Professional Lead for Workforce), otherwise known as the CSP,  to Keele in November 2018 to discuss the IAU's implementation portfolio and find out more about the Unit.  

Several of Keele's research projects were showcased in the NIHR's recent 'Moving Forward themed review', and the team from the CSP were keen to discuss with us how we can further implement those featured evidence-based innovations even further into practice.  

The review, 'Moving Forward: Physiotherapy for Musculoskeletal Health and Wellbeing', brings together high-quality research from over the past decase, with the aim to provide clear direction to patients, physiotherapists, researchers, commissioners and planners of physiotherapy and musculoskeletal services. It also demonstrates how physiotherapy services can improve patients' lives whilst also reducing healthcare costs. As a consequence, the Impact Accelerator Unit held a successful meeting for strategic leaders in Staffordshire to launch the roll out of the First Contact Practitioners intervention. 

IAU Director, Professor Krysia Dziedzic kick-started discussions by outlining the aims of the IAU followed by a series of presentations showcasing the Unit's work, such as STarT BACK, First Contact Practitoners, Evidence into Practice groups and JIGSAW-E. 

Helen Duffy went on to provide an overview of the unit's strategic engagement with the NHS, Academic Health Science Networks and Muscuoloskeletal Networks. 

Dr Steven Blackburn summarised the role of patient involvement in research, followed by Laura Campbell's summary of the Lay Involvement in Knowledge Mobilisation's contributions. 

As a consequence to these discussions, Fran Hallam will be joining the Research Institute, where she will be occassionally hot-desking within the Impact Accelerator Unit, to develop a lay version of the Moving Forward review for the NIHR. 

Multimorbidity Workshop: Breaking down the silos.

Written by Dr Jonathan Quicke & Dr Tom Kingstone | www.keele.ac.uk/pchs | @PCSciences

In this blog, we summarise the outcomes of a recent stakeholder workshop which took place on the 20th November 2018 at the idyllic Keele Hall. Research from Keele University, which focuses on the managemet of people living with two or more long-term conditions, otherwise known as 'multimorbidities', was showcased throughout the event - opening up discussions with members of the public, academics, healthcare practitioners, healthcare managers and NHS commissioners. The event took place to provide invaluable insights on how we can improve the impact of our body of research within this field, as well as highlight future research priorities.  

The Presentations

Session one kicked off by highlighting the individual and societal burden and challenges of multimorbidity.  

Prof Carolyn Chew Graham offered a general practitioner’s perspective of a typical Monday morning surgery where most patients have multimorbidity, with challenges of providing complex patient-centred care in a ten-minute consultation.  

Stephen Dent offered a personal account of living with many interacting healthcare conditions - highlighting how he prioritised his symptoms and conditions, how drug treatments for one condition can have unintended consequences on another condition, and the burden of managing multiple appointments and conditions. 

He also offered valuable insight into the importance of social activities and physical activity in maintaining his wellbeing.

Prof Krysia Dziedzic
kicked off session two, with the introduction of the research excellence framework (REF) - a UK wide exercise which assesses the quality (and volume) of research before using the results to allocate future research funding to UK universities. 

Dr Jonathan Quicke and Dr Tom Kingstone shared the Keele Physical-mental multimorbidity REF case study, which showcases some of the most impactful Keele research and the processes of building a case study. 

Attendees had the opportunity to read and discuss the case study. This was followed with an 'elevator-style' summary of key Keele and collaboarative partner research on multimorbidity, which included: 

  • a study providing guiding principles for clinicians supporting people presenting with multimorbidity in primary care (Muth et al 2014)
  • a study providing guiding principles for clinicians supporting people presenting with multimorbidity in primary care (Muth et al 2014)
  •   the POST Trial- testing a new screening tool to identify and guide on anxiety and depression with patients consulting for OA (Mallen et al 2017)
  • the nurse led ENHANCE pilot study to identify and manage anxiety and depression in people with OA (Healey et al 2015)
  • the COINCIDE trial testing the acceptability, effectiveness and cost effectiveness of an intervention that identifies and supports collaborative care management in people with physical conditions (such as Type 2 Diabetes) and anxiety/ depression (Coventry et al 2015, Knowles et al 2015, Camacho et al 2016) 

Interactive discussion

An interactive afternoon stimulated conversation and feedback around the following questions; 

Where does Keele research fit in with the local and national research agenda? 

Nationally, Keele's research contributes to NICE decision-making, bringing the real world into guidelines.

How can we achieve impact at patient and practice levels between now and 2012? 

Dissemination of research findings locally can help inform practice and develop relationships with local and regional commissioning groups to influence strategic development.

How can we involve patients and the public to influence our agenda and maximise the impact of Keele research?  

Patient stories, public open days (like the Haywood “All about Arthritis day”), traditional, local and social media messages are important parts of patient and public engagement. 

What should our research and impact priorities be beyond 2021? 

Future research should focus on establishing the unmet needs of patients from different communities and service providers.
Information from these group discussions together with attendee feedback has been synthesised and will inform our research direction moving forward and how we increase the benefit and impact of our multimorbidity research. 

The future 

On the 19th March 2019, Keele in collaboration with Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust and the Society for Academic Primary Care, will host a national conference:

"A person-centred approach to physical-mental multimorbidity" 

This conference will build on the output from the workshop day, showcase Keele research nationally and bring together the public, NHS clinicians and national multimorbidity research leaders to build future collaborations, further shape and inform future Keele research strategy and help us in working together to meet the challenge of physical-mental multimorbidity.

Visit the website to book your place. 

We would like to thank everyone for their time and unique perspectives in contributing to this valuable day and to Keele Impact Accelerator Fund for supporting the event.