March/April news update from the School for Primary Care Research
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Re-opening the debate on the effectiveness of paracetamol 

In an editorial published in the BMJ on 31 March, School members Professors Christian Mallen and Elaine Hay from Keele University comment on recent findings questioning the efficacy and safety of paracetamol in the treatment of spinal pain and osteoarthritis, findings that may prompt changes to clinical guidelines. Read more.

Exploring parents' decision-making about daycare when their children are unwell  

The School funded Parent's Choices About Daycare (PiCARD) study explored the complex decision-making involved in whether to send sick children to Nursery. The research, published in The Journal of Public Health by researchers at the University of Bristol, reports that parents viewed coughs and colds as less serious and not as contagious as sickness and diarrhoea symptoms. This resulted in many parents sending their child to daycare with a respiratory tract infection (RTI), which can result in the spread of similar illnesses in the wider community. Read more.

Sarah Purdy is appointed Associate Dean

The NIHR School for Primary Care Research would like to congratulate Professor Sarah Purdy who has been appointed Associate Dean of Social and Clinical Medicine at the University of Bristol.

As Associate Dean, Professor Purdy will provide leadership for the School of Clinical Sciences, the School of Social and Community Medicine and the Centre for Medical Education. Read more on the Centre for Academic Primary Care website.

HSJ roundtable

Dr Helen Atherton, Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, participated in a HSJ roundtable event on 22 April to talk about:
'How can the NHS and patients make the best use of technology to drive forward self-care?' 
Topics discussed included:
  • what technologies stand the best chance of being acceptable to the greatest numbers of patients
  • how both healthcare professionals and patients can be engaged in making the best use of technology
  •  how the cost benefits and effectiveness of new technologies can be optimised
  •  how technologies can drive service change in local health economies.   
The event was recorded and is currently being written up for publication. 

Understanding Kidney Health on 

A new section on has been launched to bridge the communication gap between healthcare professionals and patients who show mild Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). This is after findings from the School funded ESKIMO (ExperienceS of KIdney MOnitoring in primary care) study revealed a disparity between what health professionals seek to explain and what patients understand.

Improving the reproducibility and reliabilty of pre-clinical biomedical research

Kate Button, Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, gave a talk on the key issues with the current model of research methods at the Symposium on the Reproducibility and Reliability of Biomedical Research on 1-2 April 2015 in London. The symposium was hosted by the Academy of Medical Sciences, Wellcome Trust, MRC and BBSRC. Kate is from the University of Bristol’s Centre for Academic Primary Care. Read more.
Above left: Dr Ruth Baker, SPCR trainee, presenting her poster 'Measuring the incidence of injuries in 0-24 year olds using linked primary care, secondary care and mortality data.'

SAPC Trent

Delegates were audience to a range of primary care research from the Universities of Nottingham, Sheffield, Leicester and Lincoln. From disease specific areas of research such as Stephen Weng’s presentation on 'Improving identification of familial hypercholesterolaemia in primary care' to ‘Learning from Chekov’s Stories’ by Dr Maria Keerig from the University of Leicester’s new Medical Humanties Centre, the cross-disciplinary research on offer was a highlight as Professor Tony Avery says,

This was a really impressive regional SAPC conference with excellent presentations and posters on a range of research and educational topics. One of the highlights was the plenary on multimorbidity which was delivered by Prof Chris Salisbury from Bristol."  

How do clinicians make treatment decisions for patients with musculoskeletal shoulder problems? 

This is the research question being asked in a brand new online international survey launched by Keele University. Cliona McRobert, a musculoskeletal physiotherapist and NIHR SPCR Doctoral Fellow, is leading this study with Prof Danielle van der Windt at the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre, Keele University. 
This study is part of Cliona’s PhD that forms the basis for a clinical treatment decision aid for use with patients with shoulder disorders in primary care.

Urging as many members of the NIHR SPCR as possible to take part Cliona says:

"We are pleased to invite GPs, Rheumatologists, shoulder surgeons and physiotherapists (clinicians and academics) to take part in this international online survey. No particular expertise in the management of shoulder disorders is required; having some experience of managing shoulder cases is sufficient. Respondents will be required to view 12 hypothetical clinical cases and indicate how you would manage each patient by choosing a treatment option. This survey will take less than 20 minutes to complete."
Cliona, Danielle and the rest of the research team invite you to take part in the survey now at and to share this invitation with your clinical colleagues. For further information, please contact Cliona McRobert via email at

Flier    QR code


SPCR Blogs

Lily Lai wrote about her involvement in the SAPC Primary Healthcare Scientists (PHoCuS) group meetings in her piece Around 40% of SAPC members are not GPs
University of Southampton.

Janice Atkins attended the Epidemiology and Prevention/ Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions in Baltimore. Read her post Promoting cardiovascular health 
University College London.

If you would like to share your views on an event or comment on a paper or  primary care topic, p
lease contact Kate Farrington.


The SPCR will be holding two guest lectures to celebrate the School's renewal from October 2015 and to formally welcome the two new departments at the Universities of Cambridge and Newcastle. 



Guest speakers:

Chris Ham: 'w(h)ither the NHS?'
Graham Watt: 'Is academic primary care an oxymoron?'


There is a new calendar that tracks upcoming events on our website - we hope this will be useful. If you are attending and/or presenting at a national or international event, please would you send Kate Farrington the details to include. Thank you.

International Clinical Trials day - 20 May 2015

The OK to Ask campaign run by the NIHR is currently underway. It aims to encourage patients and carers to ask their GPs about research opportunities that they may want to get involved in.

You can follow the campaign on Twitter and Facebook and use the #NIHRoktoask if you upload any photos of your activities. Find out more

HSRN Symposium 1-2 July 2015

The Health Services Research Network (HSRN) is hosting their annual symposium on 1-2 July 2015 in Nottingham. The event provides the ideal opportunity for you to hear and discuss cutting edge health services research.

More information.

James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership - Early Osteoarthritis of Hip and Knee


-              Survey in survey monkey
-              PSP website
Any information that you can give about the numbers of people reached and methods would be greatly appreciated, as it is very useful when reporting at the end of the PSP.

44th Annual Conference of the Society for Academic Primary Care

8-10 July 2015, University of Oxford

Programme and registration
SPCR news, Spring Issue
New School publications
NIHR Annual Report 2013/14
Copyright © 2015 NIHR School for Primary Care Research, All rights reserved.

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