Primary Care and Population Sciences, Research – Specialised Foundation Programme

Employing Trust: University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
Department: Primary Care and Population Sciences
Commencement Dates: August, December, or April
Educational Supervisor: Professor Tony Kendrick

Clinical Supervisor: To be assigned (if a training practice is allocated)
Administrative Contact: Gerry Cole
Tel: 02380 591759

Main Educational Opportunities:

Academic trainees will meet with their academic supervisor during their F1 year to discuss the specialties and research opportunities available to them and will select a project topic area in which to conduct their academic training.

  • Carrying out a review of the literature in a chosen topic. Analysing research data if available
  • Presenting a research protocol to the AF2 group and academic supervisors
  • Attending team meetings on current research projects in PMC, and getting involved in a range of projects if possible and appropriate
  • Attending Primary Care and Population Sciences research seminars
  • Contributing to undergraduate medical student teaching in General Practice, if possible and appropriate
  • Clinical General Practice (optional) in a research active practice, within easy reach of the PMC (Primary Medical Care) Group in Southampton

Formal Teaching Programmes:

Generic research skills training provided by the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, at Southampton General Hospital (10 half day sessions). This course will enable AF2 trainees:

  • To gain an overview of the scope of clinical research
  • To learn about research methods and their appropriate application
  • To learn about sources of knowledge and knowledge management
  • To learn how to form research questions
  • To learn how to critically appraise research
  • To master elementary statistics and understand their application to research
  • To understand the sources of funding for research and financial management of research
  • To understand the ethics of research , consent and confidentiality
  • To understand how research is regulated and governed

Between sessions participants will be expected to develop their own research projects involving the:

  • Generation of research questions
  • Design of research protocols
  • Financial aspects of research
  • Navigation through ethics and the regulation of research

Academic competencies:

Formative assessment at the end of the course will test competency in:

  • Literature reviewing and critical appraisal
  • Research study design and planning
  • Data interpretation and presentation of results

Clinical competencies:
These will be selected from among those identified for the F2 year, which are achievable in General Practice. If they have been achieved during other Foundation placements the clinical general practice component of this post will be optional.

Timetable (subject to change by agreement with Practice)

a.m.Clinical work in General Practice (optional)Research activities with Primary Care GroupClinical work in General Practice (optional)Clinical work in General Practice (optional)Research activities with Primary Care Group
p.m.Clinical work in General Practice (optional)Research activities with Primary Care GroupClinical work (optional)/ Foundation Programme TrainingClinical work (optional)/ Research Methods CourseResearch activities with Primary Care Group

Out of Hours / On Call: Hours Worked

Work Pattern: Out of hours work is not funded for F2 placements in General Practice. To allow the trainee to maintain their income and experience however, arrangements could be made for the trainee to conduct out of hours work in a relevant acute discipline (this would best be aligned with one of the other two posts the trainee will do as part of their F2 year).

Further Information:

The Primary Care group is part of the Primary Care and Population Sciences (PCPS) academic unit, the aim of which is to improve the evidence base for the prevention and management of major public health problems (Head of Unit Professor Hazel Everitt). The group collaborates with Professor Yardley’s Health Psychology group within the School of Psychology and has had significant success in obtaining NHS R&D HTA, NIHR Programme, and MRC project grant funding.

The PMC group has a strong track record in academic training and there would be ample opportunities for a successful AF2 trainee to go on to compete for an academic clinical fellowship (ACF) during vocational training. The PMC group has been hosting academic Vocational Training Scheme extensions funded by the Wessex Deanery since the early 1990s. The academic GPRs have undertaken Masters level training, in Southampton or elsewhere when appropriate. Where possible, they have gone on to complete an MSc by dissertation.

Strengths of the programme including research track record and markers of esteem:

The Primary Medical Care group has six professors, 4 clinical lecturers, 17 post-docs, 13 doctoral students, and 34 research staff. We have particular strengths in:

  • Acute infections
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Mental health problems
  • Complementary medicine
  • Cancer early diagnosis and survivorship

We have been a member of the NIHR School for Primary Care Research since 2009 as one of the top performing primary care departments in the country. In the research excellence framework (REF 2021) more than 90% of our research was rated as internationally excellent or world-leading, and in primary care we ranked top nationally for quality of outputs. In the period 2014-2018 we produced 876 publications, of which 23.7% were in the top 10th centile for citations in SCOPUS on, with a field-weighted citation index of 2.16 per paper (mean for field is 1.0), and on which 37.4% had international collaborators as co-authors.

Of 455 grant applications between 2014 and 2019, 174 (38.2%) were successful. These include EIGHT NIHR PGFAR PROGRAMME GRANTS: DIPSS on asthma and hypertension (total including all partners £2m); CLASP on cancer survivorship (total £2m); PRIME on acute RTIs (£2m); ECO on eczema management (£2.7m); REDUCE on antidepressant reduction (£2.4m); RECON on cognitive decline (£2.3m); STREAM on malnutrition (£2.2m); and RECUR on recurrent RTIs (£2m); and EIGHT NIHR HTA TRIALS: ARTIC-PC for childhood RTIs (£1.2m); BREATHE for asthma (£1.5m); ACTIB for IBS (£703k); BATHE on emollients (£616k); SAFA on spironolactone for acne (£1.7m); PROMDEP for assessing depression (£1.6m); ATLANTIS on amitriptyline for IBS (£1.7m); and SupportBack2 on back pain (£1.2m). RfPB studies include the PROMDEP (£239k) and SupportBack1 (£241k) feasibility trials; and the Delayed antibiotic prescribing for RTI evidence synthesis (£290k).

We have 10 potential GP academic supervisors:
Prof Paul Little (RCGP John Fry awardee, Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, NIHR Senior Investigator and previously Director of the NIHR Programme Grants Board) who works on acute infections, cancer survivorship and dementia; Prof Michael Moore (previously RCGP National Clinical Champion for antimicrobial stewardship) who works on mental health, acute infections, and complementary therapies; Prof Tony Kendrick (Ex-Chair of the NIHR Doctoral Fellowship and GP In-Practice Fellowship Panels) who works in mental health; Prof Hazel Everitt (RCGP John Fry awardee, previously NIHR CL and MRC Doctoral Fellow) who works in insomnia and empathy in GP consultations; Prof Nick Francis works on antimicrobial stewardship, particularly in respiratory infections; Prof. Miriam Santer who works on primary care dermatology; Clinical Lecturer (CL) Mark Lown who is working on atrial fibrillation, obesity and blood pressure medication; CL Merlin Willcox who is developing global health initiatives in Uganda, and China; CL Hajira Dambha-Miller who is working on empathy in GP consultations; and CL Sara McKelvie who is working on community-based alternatives to hospitalisation for older people with complex health and social needs.

Research programmes:

Our research strategy focuses on four main themes – supporting self-management, improving use of medicines, diagnosis and prognosis, and healthcare communication – and four cross-cutting content areas – long-term conditions, infections and antibiotics, healthy ageing, and integrated healthcare. We currently have major funded programmes of research on trials of on-line support to preventing dementia, help stopping long-term antidepressant use; protecting elderly people who are not eating enough from infection; and supporting self-management in asthma and COPD.; grants in acute infections and antimicrobial resistance; and programmes in cancer diagnosis and survivorship. We are developing programmes on AF screening, infections, chronic pain and musculoskeletal conditions.

Doctoral and post-doctoral researchers
We currently have 13 PhD/MD students registered in the Faculty, and 20 students jointly supervised but registered with other groups (mainly Health Psychology and Health Sciences), arising from our extensive collaborations. We currently 17 post-docs who meet regularly in an active early researchers self-help group (REACH).

Further information on the Primary Care Group, including the particular research interests of the lead researchers, is available on the Faculty of Medicine website: