Becoming an RCGP Clinical Adviser: Part 1

Network Locum’s Dr David Mummery shares the extraordinary opportunities that primary care research opens for GPs…

“Life is lived forwards… but must be understood backwards” so said the great Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard.

Much the same can be said of research and progress in medicine, where we often stumble a few steps forwards and then a step backwards, and don’t get a fuller, clearer picture until later when the project is over. Primary care research is no exception to this, and this searching the unknown, formulating and debating new questions and new research ideas is initially what attracted me to becoming more involved in general practice research. Also as GP is such a clinically intense speciality, dealing with the numerous problems of thirty to forty people a day, research – for me – was something different where I had a bit more time and space to reflect about the myriad opportunities and problems that present to us in general practice.

So, quite a few years ago now, having been involved in a few interesting research projects in areas such as HIV testing and diabetes, I thought I would see what the RCGP was involved and stumbled across CIRC (Clinical Innovation and Research Centre), and the Clinical Adviser programme, neither of which I had heard of before. Excited by the offer, I signed up via their quick and simple application form, outlined my special interests and soon afterwards had been accepted as an RCGP Clinical Adviser.

To be honest I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it soon became apparent that RCGP and CIRC was involved in a huge number of extremely interesting consultations, workshops, guideline formation, NICE meetings ( and many, many more..)

To say that this covers a wide spectrum of medical and research activity is putting it mildly! An extraordinary range of subjects and specialities are covered where a GP voice is needed. Anything from a NICE workshop on guidelines on multi-morbidity, to NICE hernia guidance, to monitoring of pre-term babies, to guidelines on child abuse and neglect; virtually everything needs a GP voice, and rightly so as it is primary care which conducts 90% of all consultations in the NHS, and is the “gateway” to see other specialists for most.

As GPs, we see an incredible array of medical, social, psychological and other problems, and primary care research needs our intelligence-base. Don’t hesitate to get involved.

Dr David Mummery is a Network Locum Community Representative and has special interests in HIV and Diabetes.

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