Public Release: 

Joint Warwick study wins RCGP's Research Paper of the Year

University of Warwick

Researchers from the University of Warwick have won a prestigious award for their work on diabetes.

The paper, entitled Influence of primary care practices on patients' uptake of diabetic retinopathy screening: a qualitative case study, was named Research Paper of the Year in the diabetes category, by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). The RCGP award recognises an individual or group of researchers who have undertaken and published an exceptional piece of research relating to general practice or primary care.

The study was a collaboration with researchers from Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The research was jointly led by Prof. Peter Scanlon (GHNHSFT) and Prof. Jackie Sturt (Kings College, London, formerly University of Warwick) and supported by Irene Stratton (senior statistician, Gloucestershire) and Dr Antje Lindemeyer (University of Birmingham, formerly University of Warwick).

The team from Warwick included Dr Alison Hipwell (CLAHRC WM at Warwick Business School, formerly of the medical school) who was responsible for the day to day running of the study and led the data-collection, and Warwick Medical School's Dr Roger Gadsby, Dr Paul O'Hare and Nidal al-Athamneh. Dr Hipwell said: "It is a great honour to have our work recognised by the RCGP this year. It has been a great experience to work with such a talented team of researchers from the University of Warwick and Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Diabetic retinopathy is a serious complication of type one and type two diabetes and our research paper highlights the importance of multidisciplinary clinical practice in primary care."

The research looked into why uptake of eye screening can vary from 55 per cent to 95 per cent between practices. The paper looked at the factors contributing to high or low patient uptake of retinopathy screening in both urban and rural settings, including deprived and affluent areas. It found a number of issues including service and staff interaction and perceptions of non-attenders. The paper recommended a range of service-level opportunities to improve screening attendance and more research.

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The research study was supported by a grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research for Patient Benefit programme and was conducted in Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Birmingham.

The NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme aims to reduce the risk of sight loss among people with diabetes in England by allowing quick diagnosis and treatment of sight-threatening retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a caused by diabetes when high blood sugar levels damage the tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye. Everyone with diabetes who is 12 years old or over is invited for screening once a year.

The paper was published in the British Journal of General Practice and can be read here: http://bjgp.org/content/64/625/e484

For further details please contact Nicola Jones, Communications Manager, University of Warwick 07824 540863 or N.Jones.1@warwick.ac.uk

Notes to Editors:

1. Category 6: Endocrinology (inc Diabetes), Gastroenterology, Musculoskeletal & Trauma, and Dermatology

2. Submissions were published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 2014. For more information about the award, please visit RCGP's website http://www.rcgp.org.uk/rpy

3. For more information about diabetic retinopathy, see: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/diabetic-retinopathy/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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