Research and Surveillance Centre

The RCGP Research and Surveillance Centre’s (RSC) extensive network of spotter practices currently extracts data from over 100 practices throughout England and Wales. The aim of the surveillance scheme is to provide a timely picture of consultations by diagnosis with sentinel GPs in England and Wales.

The incidence data provides the College, PHE and the DH with early warning of changes in the incidence of common illnesses presenting to general practice surgeries, particularly important for illnesses such as influenza like-illness and incidence rates for acute illnesses, as detailed in the RCGP’s weekly Communicable and Respiratory Disease Report for England and Wales.

Weekly communicable and respiratory disease reports

The RSC publishes weekly reports on communicable and respiratory diseases in England and Wales. These include data broken down by region for incidences of influenza-like illness and other respiratory diseases as well as information on environmentally sensitive and water and food borne disorders.

Week 44, 12 November - 19 November 2014

There is no RCGP weekly report this week because of continuing data quality issues. We are working to resolve these problems and we hope to resume a normal service in the coming week.

RSC annual reports

The RSC publishes annual reports on the incidence of communicable and respiratory diseases which are available for you to download.

RSC Annual Report 2011 [PDF]

Previous years’ reports are available on request.

Annual prevalence reports

This report summarises data on the annual prevalence of disease (disease groups) reported by practices contributing to the Weekly Returns Service (WRS) of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Annual prevalence report 2007 [PDF]

Data for previous years are available on request.

RSC special reports

The RSC is engaged in a number of projects at any one time. Reports relating to some of our recent work will be available shortly.

Other RSC research

The RSC participates in an annual seasonal influenza and respiratory virus surveillance providing microbiological samples from patients from over 75% of RSC network practices.

The RSC maintains a continuing programme of research in a wide and varied number of fields, including work on vaccine effectiveness and vaccine uptake.

  • Vaccine uptake: In collaboration with the HPA on the IMOVE project. This is a European-sponsored project aiming to measure the effectiveness of influenza vaccination on a continuing basis.
  • Antibiotic reporting: A current and exciting project is the appropriateness of prescribing antibiotics in primary health care in Europe with respect to antibiotic resistance project (APRES), which looks at the prevalence of community acquired MRSA in relation to antibiotic prescribing.

Electronic Health Indicator Data (eHID)

The EU-funded project was concerned with the recording in-patient electronic medial data to optimise their use in epidemiology. Data from the Weekly Returns Service were compared with those of several networks throughout Europe. The project identified the need for all diseases or problems encountered at each consultation to be clearly identified in coded form and emphasised the desirability of episode typing at the point of consultation.

The RSC network of practices

The RSC maintains a practice population of over 900,000 patients registered, or 1.5% of the population of England and Wales.

Network representativeness

An audit of representativeness in 2007, which considered aspects of population demography, socioeconomic factors, practice structure and physician performance, as well as prescribing indices, demonstrated that RSC practices were well distributed and representative of the population.

The representativeness of sentinel practice networks 

Publications list

Below is a list of publications which have been co-authored by the RSC.

If you cannot access these articles and are a member, please check that your membership details are up to date. If you are happy that your details are up to date, and are still having problems, please contact If it is not an article from the BJGP or on the College's A-Z journals portal and you are a member, also contact

Ten lessons for the next influenza pandemic-an English perspective : A personal reflection based on community surveillance data.
Fleming DM, Durnall H.
Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2012 Jan 1;8(1). [Epub ahead of print] 

Effectiveness of trivalent and pandemic influenza vaccines in England and Wales 2008-2010: results from a cohort study in general practice.
Hardelid P, Fleming DM, Andrews N, Barley M, Durnall H, Mangtani P, Pebody R. Vaccine. 2012 Feb 8;30(7):1371-8. Epub 2011 Dec 16.

Effectiveness of seasonal 2010/11 and pandemic influenza A(H1N1)2009 vaccines in preventing influenza infection in the United Kingdom: mid-season analysis 2010/11. 
Pebody R, Hardelid P, Fleming D, McMenamin J, Andrews N, Robertson C, Thomas D, Sebastianpillai P, Ellis J, Carman W, Wreghitt T, Zambon M, Watson J.
Euro Surveill. 2011 Feb 10;16(6). pii: 19791.

Effectiveness of pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccine in preventing pandemic influenza A(H1N1)2009 infection in England and Scotland 2009-2010.
Hardelid P, Fleming DM, McMenamin J, Andrews N, Robertson C, SebastianPillai P, Ellis J, Carman W, Wreghitt T, Watson JM, Pebody RG.
Euro Surveill. 2011 Jan 13;16(2). pii: 19763. 

An assessment of the effect of statin use on the incidence of acute respiratory infections in England during winters 1998-1999 to 2005-2006.
Fleming DM, Verlander NQ, Elliot AJ, Zhao H, Gelb D, Jehring D, Nguyen-Van-Tam JS.
Epidemiol Infect. 2010 Sep;138(9):1281-8. Epub 2010 Jan 29.

Estimating influenza vaccine effectiveness using routinely collected laboratory data.
Fleming DM, Andrews NJ, Ellis JS, Bermingham A, Sebastianpillai P, Elliot AJ, Miller E, Zambon M.
J Epidemiol Community Health. 2010 Dec;64(12):1062-7. Epub 2009 Nov 12. 

Fatal cases of influenza a in childhood.
Johnson BF, Wilson LE, Ellis J, Elliot AJ, Barclay WS, Pebody RG, McMenamin J, Fleming DM, Zambon MC.
PLoS One. 2009 Oct 30;4(10):e7671. 

Oseltamivir-resistant influenza virus A (H1N1), Europe, 2007-08 season.
Meijer A, Lackenby A, Hungnes O, Lina B, van-der-Werf S, Schweiger B, Opp M, Paget J, van-de-Kassteele J, Hay A, Zambon M; European Influenza Surveillance Scheme.
Emerg Infect Dis. 2009 Apr;15(4):552-60. 

Influenza virus resistance to oseltamivir: what are the implications?
Fleming DM, Elliot AJ, Meijer A, Paget WJ.
Eur J Public Health. 2009 Jun;19(3):238-9. Epub 2009 Feb 12. 
Seasonality and trends in the incidence and prevalence of gout in England and Wales 1994-2007.
Elliot AJ, Cross KW, Fleming DM.
Ann Rheum Dis. 2009 Nov;68(11):1728-33. Epub 2008 Nov 24. 

Health benefits, risks, and cost-effectiveness of influenza vaccination in children.
Fleming DM, Elliot AJ.
Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2008 Nov;27(11 Suppl):S154-8. 
Structured surveillance of infectious intestinal disease in pre-school children in the community: 'The Nappy Study'.
Iturriza-Gómara M, Elliot AJ, Dockery C, Fleming DM, Gray JJ.
Epidemiol Infect. 2009 Jul;137(7):922-31. Epub 2008 Nov 19. 
Viral infections and acute otitis media in young children.
Elliot AJ, Fleming DM.
Clin Infect Dis. 2008 Jul 1;47(1):146-7. 
Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus in the elderly.
Elliot AJ, Fleming DM.
Expert Rev Vaccines. 2008 Mar;7(2):249-58. 
Acute respiratory infections and winter pressures on hospital admissions in England and Wales 1990-2005.
Elliot AJ, Cross KW, Fleming DM.
J Public Health (Oxf). 2008 Mar;30(1):91-8. Epub 2008 Feb 7. 

Respiratory syncytial virus: a sleeping giant?
Fleming DM, Elliot AJ.
Eur Respir J. 2007 Dec;30(6):1029-31. 

The RCGP Research and Surveillance Centre have moved. Our new contact details are:


RCGP Research and Surveillance Centre

RCGP Midland Faculty

The Birmingham Research Park

97 Vincent Drive


Birmingham B15 2SQ

Telephone numbers and email:

0203 188

Main Line (ex): 7690

Nina Spofforth (ex) 7691

Susan Grant (ex) 7693

Helen Postle (ex) 7694

The work of the RCGP Research and Surveillance Centre is funded by Public Health England.

Health Protection Agency Primary Care

European Influenza Surveillance Scheme (EISS)

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

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