Congratulations to Dr Mairead Murphy who won £500 for Best Doctoral Research Thesis in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Bristol. She was awarded the prize for the exceptional quality of her research degree thesis.

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The annual prize is made for the thesis considered to be the best within each faculty.

Thesis title: ‘Development of a patient-reported outcome measure for primary care’

Supervisor: Professor Chris Salisbury

The aim of Dr Murphy’s thesis was to develop a patient-reported questionnaire which captures the outcomes that patients seek, and which clinicians can influence through primary care. She developed the Primary Care Outcomes Questionnaire, or the PCOQ, which contains 24 questions in four areas: health and well-being; health knowledge and understanding; confidence in health plan; and confidence in health provision. Quantitative testing in a sample of primary care patients showed the PCOQ was valid and responsive to change, and it has been made available free of charge for researchers to assess the effectiveness of interventions in primary care. Mairead’s thesis used multiple methods and has produced methodological innovations in Delphi consensus studies and systematic reviews to identify papers describing the development of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). The examiners described it as ‘an ambitious and complex study that … would normally be produced by a group of researchers within the timescale of a PhD. It should be seen as a model for future PhD students.’ The thesis has resulted in four peer-reviewed publications, with two more expected.