New clinical spotlights and projects

Andy Simmons, Clinical Engagement Officer for the Clinical Innovation and Research Centre (CIRC) 

The RCGP has selected lead clinicians for 2016’s one year clinical spotlight projects. We are pleased to announce that the areas of Sepsis, HIV and Reproductive and Sexual Health, Quality Improvement in Patient Safety, and Brain Tumours in Children.

Each of these fields are seeing a greater increase in the need of clinical focus throughout primary care. The College’s Clinical Innovation and Research Centre (CIRC) will be championing greater awareness and highlighting of these issues via the Clinical Priority Programme.

Sepsis

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body's response to infection injures its own tissues and organs, and has featured greatly in the media recently. However, a recent survey conducted by the Clinical Priority Programme uncovered that approximately a third of GPs in England have received no formal training on the subject. The College is therefore aiming to address this issue via their spotlight project scheme.

Clinical Lead Dr Simon Stockley tells us: "Sepsis is responsible for 37,000 deaths a year in England alone. With better care and prevention approximately 10,000 of these are avoidable. To achieve this requires a full system approach within the health service, the clinical lead for sepsis will help focus the General Practice part of this effort through educational events, e-learning and an improved sepsis GP toolkit. Our Aim is that as a result of this Spotlight Project every GP will understand the aids to recognising possible sepsis and why they need to act in a timely manner."

Quality Improvement in Patient Safety

The notion of patient safety drives the very foundation of health care in the UK. While health care has become more effective it has also become more complex, requiring greater use of new technologies, medicines and treatments to treat increasingly complex multimorbidities in patients. This additional complexity leads to a greater opportunity for error and patient harm.

Clinical Lead Dr Andy Carson-Stevens, who also spends time as a research lead at the PRIME Centre, Wales, tells us “The Spotlight award allows us to disseminate our findings on a national level representing a major opportunity to inform and accelerate patient safety efforts in primary care and highlight the value of incident reporting in driving the safety agenda."

"We hope that sharing our findings in a number of ways will create a sense of urgency around primary care safety and begin to trigger conversations and processes within primary care in order to begin to improve the already excellent service provided to our patients.”

Brain Tumours in Children special project

Brain tumours are the second most common cancer in children and the biggest cause of childhood cancer deaths. Clinical Lead Dr Rebecca Chellaswamy tell us of the ways her work with the College will help primary care professionals improve visibility and outcomes.

"Until recently, the UK took far longer to diagnose brain tumours than many other countries and a delay in diagnosis can lead to increased mortality and long term morbidity.  The RCPCH have published guidance on signs and symptoms which could indicate a brain tumour and these are very useful in the primary care setting as well as in paediatrics as they give clear, succinct and evidence-based guidance on which children require imaging/referral and which children can be safely reassured.  In this post, I will be involved in the updating of the HeadSmart campaign and resources which support the RCPCH guidelines and will also aim to improve awareness of the guidelines and resources amongst both primary care and the public in order to improve clinical outcomes in this relatively rare but important area."

HIV, sexual and reproductive health

With the reduction and closure of many specialised sexual health clinics throughout the country, GPs are seeing an increase in the presentation of sexual health conditions in surgery. Clinical Lead Dr Philippa Matthews, tells us her plans for the HIV, Sexual and Reproductive Health clinical spotlight project.

"I am delighted to be able to take up this new post, which offers a great opportunity to further strengthen sexual health, contraception and HIV care in general practice. There are many barriers to providing good sexual health care in our setting, with two main levers of change: education and well thought-out commissioned services."

"In a range of contexts I have been using these levers and, where possible, evaluating their impact on patient outcomes. GPs and practice nurses deserve evidence-based approaches to education in this field: effective, impactful education. In general, such education is engaging and stimulating and should lead to changes in practice. Sexual health and contraceptive care should be rewarding to deliver and, where possible, we should know how we are doing and be able to see when we are improving. I intend to foster, support and signpost the best education and commissioning practices that can be found in the UK. Feel free to contact me with your thoughts and ideas, or to highlight something good that is happening in your area or organisation."

Dr Matthews will work on this large spanning field alongside Clinical Fellow Dr Rebecca Hall.

Find out more about the work of the Clinical Priorities Programme team here.

 

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