National Surveillance in England and Wales

The RSC collaborated on the national morbidity surveys for 1958, 1974, 1986 and 1995. These surveys provide an annual prevalence statistic. Many illnesses have a recurring nature and an estimate of the numbers coming into healthcare in an annual period not only provides a measure of the impact in the community but also an estimate of the impact on the health service which is essential for rational allocation of resources. Morbidity surveys have formed the basis of many secondary studies of trends over time, regional variations and social gradients for healthcare. They are also a major source of reference for studies in which data about disease prevalence in the community are needed.

At present, the RSC is involved in a number of research projects:

The LAIV project

The RSC is working with Public Health England and the University of Surrey on the pilot of a universal childhood live-attenuated influenza vaccination (LAIV) programme. The UK initiated a universal childhood immunisation programme. The UK initiated a universal childhood immunisation programme with a newly licensed intranasally-administered trivalent LAIV in the 2013/14 influenza season.

Despite recommendations for universal childhood influenza immunisation in several countries, only limited observational data has been published on the impact of such programmes. When the implementation of the new UK childhood influenza vaccine was planned, the RSC was invited to collaborate in the programme which provides an opportunity to add to this evidence base. Practices in pilot areas have been invited to join the existing RSC surveillance and monitoring network and data from the pilot practices were collected and analysed.

For more information on childhood flu vaccination, please click here.


The RSC is involved in the Accelerated Development of Vaccine benefit-risk Collaboration in Europe (ADVANCE) project funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). The project is focused on timely and best evidence on vaccine benefits and risks. It aims to establish a blueprint for a validated and tested best practice framework that could rapidly provide robust data on vaccine benefits and risks to support accelerated decision making.

For more information on the ADVANCE project, please click here.

Shingles surveillance

Shingles vaccination began a phased introduction in September 2013 amongst people 70 years and over, and the RSC was asked to recruit practices to a shingles vaccination surveillance programme aimed at assessing both vaccine uptake and effectiveness.

For more information on the shingles vaccination programme, please click here.

Gastrointestinal Disease Monitoring

The RSC is part of a project with the University of Surrey, and led by the University of Liverpool gastrointestinal disease department in the north west of England.

Projects include:

Vaccine effectiveness: the I-Move project

Nappy Study: the surveillance of enteric virus infections by simply collecting soiled nappies.

Pandemic planning with the European Influenza Surveillance Scheme: the RSC has worked closely with European colleagues. It has maintained strong links with the NIVEL Institute in Holland. 'The Role of General Practice in Primary Care' [1998], published by the World Health Organisation (WHO), was co-authored by WGW Boerma of NIVEL and DM Fleming of the RSC. The RSC also worked with NIVEL in promoting harmonisation of recording morbidity in European Sentinel Practice Networks. More recently, the APRES project focused on antibiotic prescribing and resistance.

Any practice willing to participate in the RSC research projects can join the network. To express interest, practices need to send an email to Professor Simon de Lusignan at

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