Dr Gwilym Thomas (above) describes how he has combined academic success with his training as a GP.
Doing your SSC in the Primary Care Unit, or in a General Practice, opens up a wide range of challenging opportunities and a wealth of experience for you. Possibilities range from research to underpin early diagnosis of cancer in primary care to tackling health inequalities through pro-active work with traveller communities. You will be working with some of our most dynamic GP teachers and primary care researchers, possibly leading to a first author publication”.
– Dr Kinnary Martin, Assistant Director of GPEG
Keen to explore SSC opportunities with the Primary Care Unit?
This page brings together key sources of information for student doctors at Cambridge who are looking at their SSC options, with examples of some of the projects students have carried out with us in primary care research and GP.
The Primary Care Unit carries out research and education at the highest international standards of excellence. Our research is very diverse and we aim to identify and target the behaviours that lead to chronic disease; improve early detection of disease; improve the quality of health services and deliver first class teaching to medical students, clinicians, researchers and educators.
Ben Paxton (Cambridge medical student) shares his experiences during and after conducting his SSC with the Primary Care Unit and offers top tips for medical students interested in clinical research in his blog: Five tips for medical students starting their first piece of medical research.
Many researchers within the Primary Care Unit are happy to be approached about potential projects for SSCs. Here is our current list of potential supervisors (last updated 1st November 2020) also published on the SSC page in MedEd.
In addition to the individuals listed within the Primary Care Unit, there are also a number of GPs locally who have academic or clinical specialist interests and are willing to host students for SSC projects. If you are interested in doing your SSC within General Practice with any of these individuals please contact Mark Jenkins (email@example.com) with details of any specific areas you are interested in.
The Primary Care Unit has supported over 120 SSC projects since 2009. Further information is available – here
Paper: “Impact of socioeconomic deprivation on screening for cardiovascular disease risk in a primary prevention population: a cross-sectional study”
Presented at RCGP Annual Conference 2015 ( won the Highly Commended for Research)
London and South East Region Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Primary Care, January 2014
Dr Lang is now a GP Specialist Trainee in St George’s Hospital, London.
Paper: “Fidelity of the delivery of NHS Health Checks in general practice: an observational study“.
Presented at 2020 SAPC South East Conference – won the Medical Student Prize for his presentation,
Won highly commended in the NIHR School for Primary Care Research George Lewith Medical Student Prize.
Gwilym Thomas (2013)
Supervisor: Professor Martin Roland
Paper: “Informal carers face double disadvantage with poorer quality of life and poorer patient experience in primary care”
Won RCGP category Research Paper of the Year 2016.
Dr Thomas (graduated 2015) explains how well academic primary care can fit in with your medical training. Dr Thomas is a GP and has just completed an Academic Clinical Fellowship with the Primary Care Unit.
If you are supervised by one of our researchers in the Primary Care Unit, you will be guided through the process of ethical approval, should this be necessary. If your project is supervised by a GP in practice, you are almost certainly undertaking an audit or service evaluation and in most cases, these projects do not require ethical approval. For outline guidance, check this decision tool: http://www.hra-decisiontools.org.uk/research/ (you can save the printout) and for more information see this leaflet: http://www.hra-decisiontools.org.uk/research/docs/DefiningResearchTable_Oct2017-1.pdf
We are keen to support student doctors to disseminate findings from their projects via first author publications and/or by presenting findings at conferences. Note that even if your project is not classed as ‘research’ ie does not require ethical approval because it’s a service evaluation/audit, you can still submit your abstract for consideration to many conferences, including those organised by the Society for Academic Primary Care and the Royal College of General Practitioners.
If you are planning to submit an abstract for presentation at a conference, the following information about financial support may be useful.
Students should first apply to their supervisor or research group for advice on funding support to enable them to present papers or posters about their research at conferences. Your college may be able to offer support – always ask. The Clinical School may also help with a contribution towards travel costs for this purpose. See guidance on this and on requesting absence for academic reasons on the University’s pages for students here.
If your primary supervisor is a GP in one of our GPEG teaching practices, or your SSC is supervised by a researcher in the Primary Care Unit, you can apply to GPEG for limited financial support of up to £150 per student per annum.
To apply, please send a short email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- confirm that you are directly supervised at the Primary Care Unit or by a GP in a GPEG teaching practice as your lead/main supervisor for the relevant project, naming the GP and the practice
- let us know how your supervisor has responded to your request for financial help and whether your college has agreed to help
- confirm that your abstract on a GP/primary care relevant topic has been accepted for presentation at a conference, and attach your abstract
- provide the name and date of the conference
- confirm that you have also applied to the Clinical School for travel support if applicable
- suggest the amount you’ll need, up to £150, which could contribute towards conference fees/accommodation/travel. If we’re able to help, we’ll ask for receipts when you send us your claim for these expenses.
- confirm that you’ll formally request absence for attendance at the conference, following advice from the Clinical School here
This blog by Sophie Jackman about attending her first major academic conference may make interesting reading.