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'There's a lot of it about - but does it matter?'
Service relevance of primary care research

Date: 2 October 2000
Our ref: 731

Professor Philip Hannaford holds the Grampian Health Board Chair of Primary Care in the Department of General Practice & Primary Care, University of Aberdeen and will be hosting a lecture, which is open to the public regarding, ‘Service relevance of primary care research.’

Lists of patients registered with general practices in the UK provide a major opportunity for community-based research.  Using his work on the internationally renowned Royal College of General Practitioners’ Oral Contraception Study, Professor Hannaford will show how research in this arena can shape clinical practice.  He will also illustrate how this focus can explore fundamental issues about health, and the use and development of health care services.

Professor Hannaford’s lecture, “There’s a lot of it about – but does it matter?”, will be held in the Medical School Auditorium, Polwarth Building, Foresterhill, on Thursday 5 October 2000, at 5.00 p.m.

General practice in the UK has an almost unique opportunity to undertake community-focussed research.  This is partly because each general practitioner has a defined list of registered patients, thereby providing an opportunity to recruit and follow-up for prolonged periods individuals with particular characteristics.

The traditional ‘gate-keeper role’ of general practitioners also means that practice records contain a reasonably comprehensive record of an individual’s use of NHS care.  This research opportunity has been carefully exploited by the continuing 32-year old Royal College of General Practitioners’ Oral Contraception Study.  The study began in 1968 and has followed up an initial cohort of 46,000 women (half of whom were using the contraceptive pill at recruitment and half who were not).

Using this internationally renowned study as the basis for his lecture, Professor Hannaford will show how community-focussed research can shape clinical practice both in the UK and abroad.

Professor Hannaford explained: “Results from the RCGP study also highlight the need to explore carefully the link between the occurrence of symptoms and the use of NHS care.  Often there are important disparities between the two.”

Professor Hannaford added: “A number of studies addressing different clinical topics have shown that many individuals in the community have symptoms of disease but do not consult their general practitioner or another NHS health care professional about the problem.  Does this matter?  What impact does this apparent ‘unmet need’ have on an individual’s health, life-span and quality of life?”

Answers to fundamental questions such as these are vital if primary care services are to develop in an efficient and equitable manner.

Admission is free, and is followed by a wine reception.  For further information, and to reserve your place, please contact the Faculty of Medicine and Medical Sciences: (01224) 559243.


Further information:

If you would like to interview Professor Hannaford prior to his lecture, please contact Angela Begg (01224) 272960 and this can be arranged.

The format of this event will be as follows: Professor Stephen Logan, Vice-Principal/Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Medical Sciences will chair the event and will deliver the introductory and closing remarks.  Professor Hannaford’s lecture should last no longer than 45-50 minutes and will be followed by a Question and Answer Session.

Angela Begg, University Press Office, on telephone +44 (0)1224-273778 or email

Note to Editors
An Aberdeen medical graduate, Professor Hannaford has worked extensively in Manchester, particularly at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Manchester Research Unit, before being appointed to his present position in September 1997.

Professor Hannaford has published extensively on his research interests in Contraception/Reproductive Health Care, Primary Care Epidemiology and Cardiovascular Disease.

He is a member of the Royal College of General Practitioner’s Research Group and an advisor to the World Health Organisation.  Other major professional responsibilities include: Director of the RCGP Centre for Primary Care Research and Epidemiology; Chairman of the Grampian Primary Care Alliance; Member of the Chief Scientist Office’s Health Service Research Committee; and Member of the Joint Higher Education Funding Council Research Assessment Exercise (Panel 2).

University Press Office on telephone +44 (0)1224-273778 or email