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George Lewith Prize winner 2022
Picture of Isabel Leach
Logo for SAPC - Society for Academic Primary Care

In May 2022 I was awarded the George Lewith Prize for General Practice by the NIHR School for Primary Care Research for my qualitative study investigating patient views and experiences of the identification of their palliative care needs. I undertook this research as part of my intercalated BSc at the University of Sheffield, supervised by Dr Sarah Mitchell. It was an honour for my work to be recognised nationally and I was grateful to be awarded a funded place to the 50th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) of the Society for Academic Primary Care (SAPC) to share what I had learned to academics from across the country and learn more about primary care research.

The 50th ASM was held at the University of Central Lancashire from 4th- 6th July and was the SAPC’s first in-person conference since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme of the conference was aptly ‘Recovery and Innovation’ with many presentations touching on the lessons learned from the pandemic and how academic primary care can best move forward. In particular, several presentations argued the importance and urgency of including marginalised populations in research to help combat inequalities in healthcare. This was the focus of the Helen Lester Memorial lecture where Dr Amy Russell delivered a poignant presentation challenging academics to rethink their research practices to ensure their work truly reflects the whole population.

Dr Jessica Watson’s presentation about the communication of blood test results in primary care was also thought-provoking. Her study highlighted that communication preferences of patients and doctors are often misaligned, particularly surrounding the use of text to communicate results: an interesting finding considering the recent surge of telemedicine as a result of the pandemic. One of the patients in her study likened their GP surgery to the “secret service” due to the lack of information sharing surrounding routine testing. This quote resonated with me; I will endeavour to remember the importance of open and accessible communication with patients throughout my future career.

On the second day of the conference I presented my George Lewith Prize work in the consultations and workforce parallel session. Despite my initial nerves, I enjoyed presenting my research and sharing the importance of proactive primary care in the delivery of high-quality patient-centred palliative care.

Isabel Leach presenting at SAPC ASMIsabel Leach presenting at SAPC ASM

I left the conference feeling inspired and eager to become further involved with primary care research. I greatly appreciated the opportunity to listen to such a variety of interesting talks and network with academics, GPs and other medical students interested in academic primary care. I would once again like to thank the NIHR School for Primary Care Research for funding my place at the conference. I look forward to attending again next year in Brighton!