The Community and Health Research Unit and University of Lincoln hosted this year’s Trent Regional SAPC Spring Conference at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel on Brayford Wharf in Lincoln. The conference included delegates from the Universities of Lincoln, Nottingham, Leicester and Sheffield and all over our region presenting and learning about the latest in primary care research and educational through orals, posters and workshops.
The conference keynote speakers were Chris Burton, Professor of Primary Care and Head of the Academic Unit of Primary Medical Care at the University of Sheffield, Aneez Esmail, Professor of General Practice at the University of Manchester and Navjoyt Ladher, clinical editor at The BMJ. The conference was chaired by Professor Niro Siriwardena, Professor of Primary and Prehospital Healthcare and opened by Professor Sara Owen, Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Science at the University of Lincoln. Prof Burton, new in post at Sheffield, gave the first keynote in place of Prof Nigel Mathers who was recovering from illness. Everyone wished Prof Mathers well for his convalescence and return to health.
Prof Owen’s opening talk focussed on the rapid development and expansion in science and health research and teaching at Lincoln. Chris Burton’s opening keynote focussed on ‘Complexity’, commonly used, misused and misunderstood in healthcare and research. He described the mathematics of complexity as he had applied it in his research to issues such as frequent health service use and how these were described by ‘heavy-tailed’ or log-log distributions.
There followed a series of excellent morning oral presentations, workshops and posters. Before lunch, Prof Esmail gave another outstanding keynote, ‘The problem with patient safety – challenging orthodoxies’ He certainly did challenge the conventional approach to patient safety and described how conventional attempts to reduce harm, in particularly using a target-driven approach, could lead to poorer outcomes and how it was necessary, even important, to accept some risk for better outcomes.
After lunch and viewing of the excellent posters on display, we were treated to further oral presentations and another educational workshop. The meeting ended with our final keynote from Dr Navjoyt Ladher, clinical editor at the British Medical Journal, who spoke eloquently about ‘Goldilocks medicine’ and the art of getting medicine right, particularly focussing on the harms of medicalisation and overtreatment. She went onto to talk about the editorial process at the BMJ, while encouraging primary care researchers to submit their studies to the journal.
The day ended with prizes awarded to the best poster, ‘Predictors of postpartum return to smoking: a systematic review’ by Sophie Orton, Tim Coleman, Tom Coleman-Haynes and Michael Ussher of Nottingham University, and the best oral presentation, which went to Michael Toze from CaHRU at the University of Lincoln for his doctoral research presentation, ‘Coming out in general practice: the experience of older LGBT patients’. Flowers, wine and a big vote of thanks went to Sue Bowler for her work organising the conference and making the day such a success, supported by the CaHRU team and members of staff from the other institutions involved.
By Niro Siriwardena