The Society for Academic Primary Cares annual conference was this year held in the beautiful and sunny city of Edinburgh.  The theme was “primary care: meeting global challenges” which was brought to life by Sir Andy Haines’ thought-provoking and challenging keynote, explaining the potential for primary care research to be one of the biggest opportunities in achieving universal health care. This year’s conference showcased some fantastic work by medical students, including Elliott Rees from Keele University, who presented his findings on the unrepresentative nature of teaching and training practices, suggesting they may not be teaching medics the skills they need to work with ethnic minority populations in inner city practices.

This year posters were banished, and instead replaced with the marmite concept of “elevator pitches”. These comprised 3 slides presented in 3 minutes (a challenge for most academics!) resulting in fast paced sessions representing a wide variety of topics.

The inaugural Helen Lester memorial lecture was presented by Professor Debbie Sharp and focussed on the role of maternal depression in pregnancy and its effect on child wellbeing. Professor Ruth McDonald then tackled the topical issue of effective leadership and the judgements we all make (potentially incorrectly) equating ability and honourable status. Incorporating everything from Bourdieu to Wonder Woman, this presentation will probably be responsible for a paranoia about body language across UK academic primary care.

The final keynote was provided by Professor Frede Olesen from Aarhus University, explaining how new doctors should be taught the science of the ”doctor drug”, the value of positive and trusting consultation contexts that go far beyond placebo effects.

All tweets from the conference used the twitter hashtag #sapcasm and all were welcomed to next year’s conference, to be held at the University of Oxford.

Additional information

The PHOCUS group for non-clinicians are looking to increase the support of primary care scientists on a more local level through mentoring schemes, teleconferencing and social media. More information can be found at their website:


The early career researcher prize was awarded to Fergus Hamilton from the University of Bristol for his work investigating the risk of cancer in primary care patients with hypercalcaemia. The education prize was awarded to Russell Hearn from King’s College London for his work on the use of a simulated GP placement for undergraduate teaching. The NAPCRG/SAPC travel award was awarded to Ruth Blackburn from University College London for her research on statin prescribing to prevent cardiovascular disease for people with severe mental illness.

Abi Methley staff photo

Abigail Methley, SPCR doctoral fellow, Institute of Population Health- Primary Care, University of Manchester

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