by Gemma Lasseter, Research Fellow, Centre for Academic Primary Care and NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Evaluation of Interventions at the University of Bristol
In the UK, government policy on whether to fund new vaccines, or modify their availability, is based on advice from an independent scientific advisory group. This involves weighing up the benefits and costs, and then deciding whether a vaccine is value for money.
The idea is to find a balance between the cost of doing something (such as routinely vaccinating all children against a particular disease) and how much benefit you get from doing it (such as health gains by preventing disease and the associated economic savings).
Yet the current approach does not take into account many of the benefits that vaccinations offer and which set them apart from other health interventions. The fact that vaccinations are preventative rather than curative, for … Read more
By Christie Cabral, Research Fellow, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol
Why do parents seeking evaluation, reassurance and information about their child’s cough end up with antibiotics from their GP? Research fellow Christie Cabral looks at the evidence.
GPs see a lot of children with respiratory tract infections (RTIs), usually presenting with a cough, high temperature or both. RTIs can be distressing and disruptive for children and parents but are mostly viral illnesses that will get better on their own: there is little that a GP can do to treat them.
However, many are prescribed unnecessary antibiotics that can lead to resistant bacteria. From our previous research, we know that parents often feel uncertain about the severity of an RTI and feel that it’s safer to consult a doctor.
They are usually seeking a medical evaluation, reassurance and information to help them understand and … Read more
by Dr Rachel Johnson, NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Primary Health Care, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol and Anna King, NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Evaluation of Interventions at the University of Bristol
Our Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) began as the idea of a group of doctors who have witnessed how difficult the experience of heart failure can be for patients and their families. Heart failure is one of the commonest causes of unplanned hospital admissions, and it can place a heavy burden on carers and families.
Our aim was to put the needs of patients, carers and health professionals at the heart of the research agenda. We followed the methods of the James Lind Alliance Heart (JLA), a not for profit organisation set up to ‘open up discussion between patients and clinicians to agree on priorities for future research.
The PSP … Read more
by Dr Eszter Szilassy, Research Fellow, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol
Men who experience domestic violence and abuse face significant barriers to getting help and access to specialist support services, our latest study shows.
Although the amount, severity and impact of domestic violence and abuse experienced by women is much higher than that experienced by men, men can also suffer significantly as a result of abuse from a partner, ex-partner or an adult family member.
An earlier study of 1,368 male patients in GP clinic waiting rooms in the UK found that more than one in four had experienced abusive behaviour from a partner or ex-partner. They were also between two and three times more likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The experiences of many men who are survivors of domestic violence and abuse are similar to those of women. Like … Read more
Interview with Louise Ting, Member of the Centre for Academic Primary Care Patient and Public Involvement Steering Group
Louise Ting has been involved in service delivery and health research from a patient and public perspective for over six years. She has a passion for ensuring that patient and public involvement (PPI) is done properly and is meaningful both for researchers and for public contributors. Louise is a member of the PPI Steering Group at the Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol.
How did you find out about public involvement in research?
I first heard about public involvement when there was a large-scale commissioning exercise in Bristol for procuring the next set of mental health services in the city. They were asking people who had used services in the past to give their views and help assess the different bids by potential providers.
There were lots … Read more
By Dr Eileen Sutton, Research Fellow and Trial Coordinator – BEE Study, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol
Qualitative research in trials
Many clinical trials now include qualitative research methods – which can include interviews, focus groups, or observations – alongside clinical and survey data collection. These kinds of research methods can be used to help the design of trials or to help us understand what is going on when a treatment or service is delivered in a clinical trial. For example, we can interview research participants to find out more about how they have used or experienced a treatment, in much more detail than we could capture in a survey. Combining different research methods can help researchers to get a more complete picture.
Around 20% of children in the UK experience eczema, which is characterised by dry, itchy skin. Eczema can … Read more
By Dr Lucy Pocock, GP Career Progression Fellow, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol
Dealing with death is part of the job description for all doctors. For those working in general practice, this often means planning ahead, with GPs encouraged to keep a register of patients thought to be in the last year of their life.
One reason for this is to identify which patients might benefit from palliative and supportive care – the kind of care which focuses on symptom control, rather than cure. At the moment, these registers appear to consist mainly of patients with cancer. Yet most people (72%) in England don’t actually die of cancer. So why aren’t other dying patients being registered?
To answer this question, it is helpful to think about how we die. As a GP, I can often predict, to some degree, a decline … Read more
By Dr Matthew Ridd, GP and Senior Lecturer in Primary Healthcare, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol
and Dr Robert Boyle, Consultant Paediatric Allergist, Imperial College London
Around one in five children have eczema – and even mild cases can have a big impact on both the child and their family. For many, symptoms will come and go before they start primary school, but for others it can indicate the beginning of a genetic tendency to develop allergic conditions such as hay fever or asthma (or both).
We also know that children with eczema are more likely to develop food allergies, especially if the condition starts in the first few months of life and is severe. Often parents will make the allergy diagnosis themselves – at the sudden onset of vomiting, diarrhoea or rash after eating scrambled egg, for example.
This can be frightening, but … Read more
By Dr Natalia Lewis, Research Fellow, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol
A new paper by researchers from the University of Bristol and NIHR CLAHRC North Thames highlights the post-trial journey of an evidence-based domestic violence and abuse (DVA) intervention to the NHS front-line, and the human and contextual factors that influence how its effect is sustained over time.
IRIS (Identification and Referral to Improve Safety) is a general-practice-based DVA training, support and referral programme. The programme develops DVA awareness and skills among general practice staff and provides a referral pathway to a named DVA advocate (IRIS advocate educator) based in a third sector agency. IRIS advocate educators provide IRIS training and ongoing support, consultancy to practice staff, and advocacy to referred patients.
Following a successful randomised controlled trial, IRIS has been implemented in over 30 local authorities in the UK. The trial … Read more
By Dr Jeremy Horwood, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol and NIHR CLAHRC West, and Dr Andrew Turner, Senior Research Associate, NIHR CLAHRC West
Researchers from the DECODE study hosted a workshop late in 2018 to explore the unintended consequences of digital health tools used in primary care. The workshop was attended by members of the public, technology developers, GPs and key researchers in the field.
Digital health tools, such as health monitoring apps and online patient portals, are becoming commonplace, with NHS England supporting their use to improve patient access and care. But this increase in their use could lead to unintended consequences, both positive and negative. An understanding of these consequences is vital, so we can minimise the negative effects and harness the positive.
DECODE aims to improve how digital health tools are used in primary care by investigating … Read more