Conference report: Society for Academic Primary Care London & South East Regional Conference, 31 Jan to 1 Feb 2013

Madingley

Just back from a great two days at the annual SAPC regional conference (they feed you very well at Madingley Hall – and the gardens and topiary are always worth a trip out into the fresh air). As ever, there was a great and varied collection of presentations, and some thought-provoking key notes. Martin Marshall challenged us to consider how to forge better and closer links between academia and NHS in his review of improvement science. Martin recently moved to UCL as Professor of Healthcare Improvement and lead for Improvement Science London, aiming to promote applied health services research (or implementation sciences, or improvement sciences…) within the capital. Issues such as the need for evidence-based management; the challenges of career pathways for improvement scientists outside of mainstream academia; and new ideas around situating researchers-in-residence to tackle particular problems in NHS Units and wards were all covered. Nick Timmins, a lifelong public policy journalist now at the King’s Fund, gave us a gripping account of the birth of the NHS Health and Social Care Act 2012 (you can download the full publication), which unsurprisingly provoked rather lively discussion.

In the parallel sessions, it was great to hear directly from Geoff Wong, one of the authors of the very recent publication standards on meta-narrative reviews and realist syntheses for complex interventions; his demonstration of some of the finer points of sociological theory using just a biro were particularly appreciated. Thoughtful use of the MRC Framework for complex interventions was apparent in the presentations from the COPERS team, developing a self-management programme for chronic musculo-skeletal pain (they recently published the study protocol). And finally, well done to CCHSR’s Anas El Turabi, shortlisted for the early career prize for his work on socio-demographic variation in patient experience of shared-decision making (his slides are here for those who want to find out more). Looking forward to next year – especially as the Primary Care Unit of which we are part gets to organise it…

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