Research Themes

We lead and collaborate in research in order to understand and to have a substantial impact on the way health services are delivered in primary and community based care.

Most of our research belongs to one of two themes, Symptoms Research and Delivery of Primary Care.  These themes link directly to the Understanding Common Conditions and Delivery of Healthcare research themes of the Institute of Applied Health Sciences.

This section describes some of the current and recent studies in our themes.  For most studies the information gives the main investigator; however as all our studies are interdisciplinary, many involve one or more other members of the primary care research group. In addition we collaborate with colleagues from across the University of Aberdeen and beyond.

o   Symptoms Research

o   Delivery of Primary Care

o   PCCIU-R Database

o   Public and Patient Involvement (PPI)

Our symptoms research theme examines people’s interpretation of symptoms and explores their decisions to seek medical treatment or not.  A key interest is in how patients with symptoms suggestive of cancer and other serious conditions use healthcare and how clinicians in primary care react to their symptoms. 

Current and recent projects include

Symptom experience and interpretation

o   Understanding individuals ‘responses to symptoms indicative of cancer, the Useful Study – Professor Phil Hannaford/Dr Peter Murchie

o   Women’s experiences of the menopause – Lisa Iversen

o   Exploring symptom appraisal and help seeking using Leventhal’s Commonsense model – Alison Thornton/Rosalind Adam

Help seeking behaviour

o   Understanding early cancer symptoms and help seeking from GPs – Professor Peter Murchie/Professor Phil Hannaford 

o   Out-of-hours use by cancer patients for pain symptoms – Rosalind Adam

Symptom patterns and trajectories

o   Long term outcomes and oral contraceptive use – Phil Hannaford and Lisa Iversen

o   Sequalae of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy – Phil Hannaford and Lisa Iversen

Respiratory Disease symptoms and treatment

o   Asthma monitoring and treatment studies – David Price

Delivery of Healthcare

·         Digital systems to improve cancer follow-up and symptom management – Peter Murchie, Rosalind Adam, Susan Hall

·         Investigating the role of pelvic examination in gynaecological cancers – Pauline Williams

·         Benzodiazepines and Z-drugs prescribing over time among the Aberdeen Children of the 1950s Cohort – Hadah Alkhaldi, Lisa Iversen, Corri Black, Catriona Matheson

·         Investigating patterns of cancer diagnosis – Peter Murchie, Sarah Smith

·         Investigating and reducing inequalities in cancer outcomes for remote and rural patients – Peter Murchie, Melanie Turner, Romi Carriere

 

 

The Institute of Applied Health Sciences

Polwarth Building

Aberdeen

AB25 2ZD

Tel:  +44 (0)1224 437974

Email:  traceygrant@abdn.ac.uk


 

 

 

 

Symptoms Research

Our symptoms research theme examines people’s interpretation of symptoms and explores their decisions to seek medical treatment or not. A key interest is in how patients with symptoms suggestive of cancer and other serious conditions use healthcare and how clinicians in primary care react to their symptoms.  The theme also examines the most effective way for GPs to manage so-called medically unexplained symptoms.

Current and recent projects include

Symptom experience and interpretation

  • Understanding individuals ’responses to symptoms indicative of cancer, the Useful Study - Alison Elliott
  • The symptom iceberg in the UK general population - Alison Elliott
  • Women’s experiences of Premenstrual Syndrome - Catriona Mallia
  • Women’s expriences of the menopause - Lisa Iversen
  • Exploring symptom appraisal and help seeking using Leventhal’s Commonsense model - Alison Thornton

Help seeking behaviour

  • Examining the role of NHS 24 for managing health in the community - Alison Elliott
  • Understanding early cancer symptoms, the role of pharmacy - Frances Notman
  • Exploring preferences for managing chronic pain - Chris Burton
  • Out-of-hours use by cancer patients for pain symptoms - Rosalind Adam

Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS)

  • Multiple Symptoms Study 2 – development and testing of the Symptom Clinic Intervention for patients with Medically Unexplained Symptoms - Chris Burton
  • Explanations for MUS - Chris Burton
  • Defining MUS for primary care practice and research - Chris Burton

Symptom patterns and trajectories

Respiratory Disease symptoms and treatment

  • Asthma monitoring and treatment studies - David Price
Delivery of Primary Care

Our Delivery of Primary Care research examines the way services are provided. It includes research into pharmacy based provision of care, services for drug misusers and evolving professional skill mix. A key element of our delivery of primary care theme is resilience – both for professionals and for patients – and how services can foster it.

Current and recent projects include

Primary Care and Cancer 

  • GPs use of urgent suspected cancer referrals
  • Interventions to increase feedback about pain control in cancer
  • Follow up of melanoma using handheld technology
  • Effects of geography on cancer referral and diagnosis patterns

Substance misuse Management 

  • National and international surveys of provision of primary care drug services
  • Public opinion of drug treatment strategies
  • Misuse and dependence on  over the counter medicines
  • Screening for substance  misuse in primary care

Changing roles in healthcare delivery 

  • European comparison of new professional roles in delivering healthcare
  • Pharmacy interventions for patients with chronic pain
  • Telepharmacy for remote and rural locations

Resilience and personalised care

  • Defining and promoting resilience in health professionals - Catriona Matheson
  • Defining and promoting resilience in patients - Lisa Iversen
  • Patient preferences for personalising support for self management - Chris Burton

Complex Systems and healthcare

  • Use of complexity science to understand healthcare systems and interventions - Chris Burton
PCCIU-R Database

The Primary Care Clinical Informatics Research Database (PCCIU-R) is an anonymised database of primary care consultations which was established in the early 1990’s from the GPASS clinical system. It remains available for analysis, although it has not actively collected data since 2009.

Public and Patient Involvement (PPI)

We recognise the importance of involving health service users in the design, conduct and interpretation of our research. This applies to members of the general public (almost everyone is registered with a GP and can attend a pharmacy) and to people with specific health conditions.

The College of Life Sciences and Medicine has a college-wide PPI group comprising volunteers willing to be approached to comment on research.

In addition Academic Primary Care has close ties with Grampian Pain Support, a peer support group. Researchers in other topics are always keen to hear from individuals or groups who wish to bring their particular experience to the design and reporting of our research.

Interested individuals should contact Ann Christie in the first instance.