Anyone can get long-term pain from shingles

 

By Lorelei Hunt, Patient and Public Involvement Representative on the ATHENA Shingles Study, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

Five years ago, when I felt unwell with a pain on one side of my body, I assumed I had a virus. Only after a week, when a rash appeared in the same place, did I think that I might have shingles. I was in good health and never thought shingles was something that I was at risk of. But I now know that anyone can get it.

After getting chicken pox, the virus lurks in your nervous system and can reappear as shingles without warning at any time and the risk of this increases with age. The painful, blistering rash was bad enough, but I didn’t know that shingles can have a nasty after-effect, causing a type of nerve pain called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN for … Read more

How do we provide high quality palliative care in the community?

 

 

By Dr Tanuka Palit, NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Primary Care, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

“You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.” Dame Cicely Saunders

Many people express a wish to die at home. The proportion of deaths that occurred in the community (including private homes and care homes) rose significantly during the pandemic and has been sustained. As a consequence, the need to fund and improve our community palliative care services has never been more important. Earlier this year, this was recognised by a change in the Health and Social Care Bill to fund palliative care services in all areas. This will hopefully remove the postcode lottery that currently exists in the UK for … Read more

Championing a ‘People Era’ in heart failure research

 

 

By Dr Alyson Huntley, Senior Research Fellow in Evidence Synthesis, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

World Heart Day on 29 September 2022 aims to inform people that cardiovascular disease, including heart failure and stroke, is the world’s leading cause of death, claiming 18.6 million lives each year. It also aims to highlight the actions that individuals can take to prevent and control heart disease. Alyson Huntley describes how researchers at the Centre for Academic Primary Care are refocusing priorities to ensure that the needs of people living with heart failure are at the centre of their work.

We aim to put people with heart failure at the centre of our research. A recent collaborative project with other universities highlighted the unmet needs of people living with heart failure. The priority setting process brought clinicians, patients and families/carers together on an equal footing to … Read more

CAPC Festival of Teaching

 

 

by Dr Simon Thornton, GP and GP Engagement Lead, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol and Professor Trevor Thompson, GP and Head of Primary Care Teaching, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

The Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC) at the University of Bristol is a leading centre for primary care teaching and research based in Bristol Medical School. In April 2022, we held an inaugural Festival of Teaching at Bristol Zoo, to celebrate the skill and commitment of GP teachers, who are helping develop the primary care workforce of the future.

The day started with an introduction to teaching for the coming (2022/23) academic year from the teaching team. If you’re interested in teaching medical students and haven’t seen it already, do take a look at our Teaching Brochure that gives you all the information you need about teaching … Read more

Lessons from lockdown: NHS general practice changes and public perceptions

 

by Dr Lorna Duncan, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

 

How did England’s National Health Service (NHS) change at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Dr Lorna Duncan and Kelly Cheng wrote two companion pieces for F1000Research, exploring how the NHS modified general practice (GP) consultations to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and what the public thought about those changes. F1000Research spoke to Dr. Duncan about what they discovered and the potential implications for primary care. You can read the full blog on their website.… Read more

Opening opportunities for GP trainees and allied health professionals to get into research: the PACT ‘Why test?’ study

 

 

by Dr Jessica Watson, NIHR Clinical Lecturer in General Practice, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

Have you ever found yourself looking at blood test results and wondered why the test was done in the first place?

Why Test? – It seems like a simple question. Yet despite increasing access to research databases such as Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), which contain millions of test results, there is no easy way to find out why these tests are being performed in the first place. How many are for monitoring, screening or diagnosis? Which symptoms trigger testing? To explore this, we are launching the Why Test study using the Primary Care Academic CollaboraTive (PACT).

Currently, only a tiny proportion of primary care clinicians have a formal academic contract with a University. PACT aims to open up opportunities for non-academic primary care clinicians to get … Read more

Twists, turns and persistence: my path from nursing to research

by Dr Cindy Mann, Research Fellow, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

Cindy Mann, a former nurse and now Research Fellow at the Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol, shares the twists and turns in her career, and encourages nurse colleagues to consider research as a future path and not be put off by setbacks.

A long and varied career

I have had a long career, starting in 1975, when I did my nurse training at Leeds General Infirmary. In 1977 I got married and after completing training followed my husband to Oxford where I took a job as a staff nurse at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. I then decided to do a Philosophy degree in Oxford, and really enjoyed the peace and quiet of working in a library, in contrast to ongoing shifts for the nurse bank. In the following years, up … Read more

Curiosity and imagination: building blocks on my path to research

 

 

by Alastair Hay, Professor of Primary Care, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

I became a GP in 1997 and was appointed professor of primary care at the University of Bristol in 2013.

As a child, I was an avid Lego® player and reader of ‘how things work’ books. I was state-educated and did not enjoy school until my ‘A’ levels. I enjoyed the conceptual challenge of mathematics and, in 1985, was offered a place at Birmingham University to study maths and psychology. My results were better than I expected, so I withdrew and applied for medicine, securing a place at Sheffield.

I was initially disappointed by the course because of the lack of conceptual challenges. I was expected just to absorb lots of knowledge. Later, as I took responsibility for patient care, the application of knowledge became the interest. I did not intercalate … Read more

Point-of-care tests to inform antibiotic prescribing

 

 

by Alastair Hay, Professor of Primary Care, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

This article was first published in the BMJ.

The tests have potential but more evidence is needed. 

Given the global concerns(1) about antibiotic resistance, antimicrobial stewardship is essential to preserve the future effectiveness(2) of antibiotics. Healthcare practitioners must balance public and patient health, ensuring that only patients who need antibiotics receive them, and that they receive an antibiotic to which their infection is susceptible, at the optimum time, dose, and duration. Whether to prescribe an antibiotic is a key issue for clinicians treating respiratory infections in the community.

Point-of-care tests provide results in time to inform treatment. For respiratory infections, the tests can identify the presence of a microbe(3-5) or measure markers of a host’s response to a microbe, such as C reactive protein or procalcitonin, in finger prick quantities … Read more

The aim of general practice: can it be explained in one sentence?

 

 

by Professor Alastair Hay, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

This article was first published in the British Journal of General Practice.

As a teacher and researcher, I have learned that, unless my aim is clear, I will confuse myself, my students, my clinical colleagues, and my co-investigators. And yet, as a GP I often wonder, ‘Can I summarise my objective?’

The June edition of the UK’s British Journal of General Practice included articles describing an existential crisis in primary care (asking ‘What is the essence of general practice?’), a novel study describing some of the most complex work undertaken by GPs (largely invisible to most people most of the time), and other articles asking how we should deliver care post-COVID. However, the common thread for me was: ‘What is our aim?’

And why is it important to be able to explain our … Read more