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;

Thursday, 3 November 2016

UK Research in Musculoskeletal Epidemiology (UK-RiME) Showcase 2016

By Dr James Prior, Research Associate

At the start of October, the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences successfully hosted the 2016 UK Research in Musculoskeletal Epidemiology (UK-RiME) showcase.

The UK-RiME is a partnership initiated by the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Excellence in Epidemiology (University of Manchester). This collaboration includes Centres working in musculoskeletal (MSK) epidemiology from the Universities of Aberdeen, Bristol, East Anglia, Keele, Nottingham, Oxford and Southampton. 

The main aim of the UK-RiME is to build capacity in MSK epidemiology research by developing a multi-disciplinary training and mentorship programme across these Centres. The annual showcase provides an opportunity for junior and senior researchers from each Centre to come together, present their research and importantly build networks to aid future collaborative MSK epidemiology research.

Prof. Danielle van der Windt
This year’s meeting was opened by Professor van der Windt (Keele University) who outlined the day's packed content and also highlighted some of the successful UK-RiME events over the last year, including the first UK-RiME Advanced Musculoskeletal Epidemiology course in the summer. 

Dr Jessica Boname
The scientific content of the day was then kicked off by the first keynote speaker, Dr Jessica Boname from the Medical Research Council (MRC). Dr Boname provided a very useful presentation around the MRC funding streams available to researchers, both clinical and non-clinical. This presentation was followed by a series of presentations by senior researchers from each Centre, who each recapped the research highlights from their Centre in the last 12-months. This really gave a flavour and the breath of excellent research being conducted. 

The morning session was then rounded off by the main presentation session, the elevator pitches. These presentations challenge junior researchers to “sell” their research idea to the audience in just three minutes; this session didn’t disappoint, with an excellent series of presentations, all providing concise information which distilled the essence of their work for the audience. As presentations were short, each researcher had produced a poster of their work and much conversation was had by these over the lunch break. Another key feature of the UK-RiME is its mentorship scheme, linking up junior and senior researchers (from different institutes), to provide the former with an additional perspective on their future career path. As well as facilitating these links between researchers, the UK-RiME showcase also provides an excellent opportunity for face-to-face meetings between mentorship pairs over the meeting breaks.

The afternoon of the showcase was dedicated to interactive ‘breakout’ sessions, giving attendees with an opportunity to discuss specific areas of interest with experts in several different topics. The eHealth group was particularly well attended, providing the opportunity for discussion around the pros and cons of using electronic surveys, websites and apps for epidemiological research. Other groups covered the use of ‘big data’ (such as the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD)), registers and a session of the Statisticians’ Network, to facilitate closer links and skill sharing between this group. 

Prof. Alan Silman
The showcase was rounded off by an excellent (and enthusiastic) keynote presentation by Professor Alan Silman, who mused on the past of MSK epidemiology, and importantly, what the future holds for this field and the researchers within it. 

Prof. Will Dixon
Finally, the meeting was closed by Professor Will Dixon (University of Manchester), who further highlighted the continued success of the UK-RiME showcase, now in its third year and presented Monika Frysz from the University of Bristol with the prize for best elevator pitch.

Royal College of General Practitioners Conference 2016

By Dr Annabelle Machin

The 2016 annual Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) conference took place in the historic spa town of Harrogate, 6th - 8th October 2016. With a theme of ‘Energising Primary Care’, this year's conference provided delegates with a packed agenda of plenary, concurrent and fringe sessions, a lively exhibition and an extensive selection of posters. 
Keele was well represented, with attendees including Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham, Professor Athula Sumathipala, four NIHR Academic Clinic Fellows (ACFs) and two Keele Medical students.

Victoria Silverwood (NIHR Academic GP ST3) presented a poster on her topical audit, reviewing unplanned acute admissions to hospital in patients with long-term conditions which demonstrated that those patients on an Unplanned Admissions Register’ (UAR) were less likely to be admitted than those not on the register. Her poster was awarded a rosette and shortlisted for a prize.

Annabelle Machin (NIHR Academic GP ST4) presented two audits. The first reviewed the content of rheumatoid arthritis annual reviews performed in primary care, revealing assessments to be inconsistent and mood problems to be under-explored. She evidenced how the introduction of a template led to more holistic assessments. 

The second audit focused on adherence to antibiotic prescribing guidelines for acute otitis media in primary care, revealing that deferred prescriptions and self-care advice leaflets were under-utilised. The poster was awarded a rosette and shortlisted for a prize.

Annabelle also presented a research poster, (with Carolyn Chew-Graham and Samantha Hider), reported patient perspectives on case-finding for anxiety and depression in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and highlighted the value of a nurse-led annual review clinic to assist early recognition and management of co-morbid anxiety and depression in people with RA. After being shortlisted, the poster was awarded the research category prize.

Maatla Tshimologo (Keele University medical student), presented a qualitative analysis of perceptions of third sector workers supporting older people with depression. 

Research undertaken by iPCHS Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham was recognised in the RCGP Research Paper of the Year awards, winning two individual categories and also the Overall Research Paper of 2015.  More about these in a separate blog - RCGP Research paper of the year (2015): double win for Keele IPCHS Professor

There were numerous inspirational plenary speakers. Kate Allatt gave a particularly emotive speech as she shared her inspirational story of recovering from locked-in syndrome. She called for GPs to not be dismissive of patients’ concerns, echoing the sentiment of NICE chairman Professor David Haslam, who presented his ideal consultation model, involving ‘shutting up, listening, caring and knowing something’!

The session led by Roger Neighbour and Dr Waqar Ahmed was extremely well attended. Their humourous presentation on the use improvisational theatre techniques to deliver more effective consultations for GPs and their patients introduced new and thought-provoking concepts.

Professors Carolyn Chew-Graham and Athula Sumathipala from iPCHS also led a session on the use of metaphors in the management of people with Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS). The workshop involved a discussion of the acceptability of these metaphors and how they could be used in consultations.