Archive | September, 2015

Sharing and Searching for Safety Sake: A new RUG member’s view of the 2nd Greater Manchester PSTRC annual research symposium

18 Sep

by Tony Russell-Pattison, member of the core Research User Group (RUG)


Peter Walsh, Chief Executive of AvMA, presents at the symposium

Wednesday the 1st of July was the hottest day of the year so far and it felt it. It was good therefore to arrive at the relatively chilled Midland Hotel where an excellent number and diversity of delegates were gathering for this symposium.

Stephen Campbell (Centre Lead) welcomed us all with an overview of the day and the centre’s work in general. Time was to be tight if we were to get the most out of of the next four hours or so, but this was managed well.

Fittingly, the day commenced and was grounded in the real life stories of real life patients. Terri Loughman shared her story of dual mental and physical diagnosis and its traumatic mistreatment when care agencies failed to communicate effectively, to her detriment. Mother and son, James and Lynne Sweetman, shared via video the anguish of late diagnosis of testicular cancer after repeated and failed attempts to seek assistance from GPs. The importance of belief in the patient’s concerns rather than automatic and, in this case, inaccurate reassurance was highlighted. Most poignantly painful, however, was Nic Hart’s recounting of the last months of his daughter Averil’s life, who died of complications arising from Anorexia Nervosa. The catalogue of missed opportunities and events that should never have happened to this young lady was hard to take in. The appreciation of how stressful and traumatic life was for her family after her death, as they were thwarted in trying to find the truth about Averil’s death by systems and agencies, was no less hard to hear. The courage of all the speakers in sharing their accounts was obvious. As a new RUG core group member who recently attended his first meeting, I was struck by how quickly I got subsumed into the professionalism of the proceedings, the academic language and the acronyms. These encounters with patients’ stories helped me realign myself back to the mindset of a patient with something to say. Such personal encounters benefit not only professional staff but also those of us who seek to have patients’ voices heard.

We were then introduced to some of the centre’s PhD students who gave us an overview of the doctoral research projects they are undertaking under the aegis of the centres professors. Inevitably, there was a lot to take in, in a short time, none the less:-

  • Shoba Dawson shared her investigation of the involvement of minority ethnic groups in Health Service research
  • Paolo Fraccaro was investigating how patient and computers interact when patients access their lab results on line and how they interpret those results.
  • Hayley Gorton recounted her study into how medications may be related to unnatural deaths.
  • Reinis Jones was looking at junior doctors’ patient safety learning experiences.
  • Christian Thomas asked the question “how are policies and procedures viewed by community pharmacy staff”?
  • Tina Wulff introduced the relatively new concept of “knowledge mobilisation” and was investigating how this was being used in general practice.

The clarity and succinct delivery of each presentation was much appreciated by us all, and the speakers were available for questions over coffee. Having joined RUG only recently, I had received a good introduction which had me thinking that I had grasped the four theme approach. This unravelled somewhat at the first meeting where the numerous threads within each theme became evident. These presentations (along with the newsletter which I received in July) gave me a much clearer view of the breadth and variety of research being undertaken.

Following this there were a number of breakout sessions. I chose the one on Patients’ Views of Patient Safety, where Sally Giles and Penny Lewis presented preliminary findings of their interviews which sought to examine patients’ understanding and experiences of medication safety in primary care, which seemed to indicate patients as valuable sources of information in this area. They were joined by Rebecca Hays who discussed the outcomes of her first discussion group.

Our last speaker of the day was Peter Walsh (Chief Executive of “Action Against Medical Accidents” ) He spoke passionately about the organisations involvement in the Mid Staffs enquiry and the subsequent Francis Report which enshrined in law the “duty of candour” but highlighted the problems of the premise being defined differently for acute and primary care. He summarised the whole day when he identified what patients want as safety, justice, better (not more) regulation and openness and transparency.

World Suicide Prevention Day: Increasing awareness amongst pharmacists

10 Sep

by Hayley Gorton (@hayley_gorton | @meds_safety), PhD student in Medication Safety theme and Pharmacist

World Suicide Prevention Day_HGblog

Every year, over 800,000 people die by suicide, worldwide. Suicide is, therefore, a major public health issue which the World Health Organization are committed to reduce – a 10% reduction in suicide deaths is pledged by 2020 [1]. Today, 10th September 2015, is World Suicide Prevention Day. I tentatively suggest that surprisingly few people will have heard of this international awareness day and perhaps realise the contribution of suicide as a cause of death worldwide. Recently, I attended the 28th World Congress of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in Montréal. Fantastic work was presented by researchers from different backgrounds and there was a real sense of community and camaraderie between these researchers who are striving towards a common goal. On realising that I am in a unique position as a pharmacist researching in this field, I reflected on the likely awareness of suicide demographics and risk factors amongst my peers. As pharmacists are often the front line of public health, I have taken it as my duty to raise awareness within my field. To begin, I have written an article aimed at pharmacists published online in the Pharmaceutical Journal, the journal of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, website:

If you, or somebody you know if affected by suicidal thoughts or actions, please seek help; Samaritans 0845 790 9090


  1. World Health Organisation. Preventing Suicide: A global imperative. [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2014 Sept 12]. Available from: .