Reflections on 2020 from SAPC Chair Carolyn Chew-Graham

Looking back on what has been a challenging year, I am sure we are all ready for a break, and I do hope everyone is able to get some down-time, hopefully with people who are special to you (within COVID-19 restrictions).
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic so many of our colleagues found themselves working harder than ever and facing challenges and changes in working practices which allowed little brain space for anything else. 
We were sad not to be able to run ASM 2020.  We were able to publish the book of submitted abstracts on-line
Thank you to Professors Suzanne Richards and Richard Neal and their team at Leeds for all the hard work put in to ASM 2020.  We are very grateful to them for agreeing to co-ordinate the programme for the virtual ASM 2021.
Members of SAPC HOTs and HODs have continued to work with key members of the RCGP leadership team, to consolidate our working relationship and strengthen academic general practice and emphasise its relevance to primary care.
May I wish you all a peaceful time over the festive season, and hope that 2021 is a better year for all of us.


AGM 2020 and congratulations

The AGM in 2020 was also cancelled and SAPC Executive team decided to run an electronic version publishing the usual AGM papers, with an opportunity for members to email with questions or comments which the Exec could respond to.  We can confirm that no questions were received.

View the Honours and Congratulations (to July 2020).

There are more recent congratulations to announce:
Our very good wishes to Miriam Santer who is now Professor of Primary Care Research at Southampton, Anne Stephenson who is now Professor, (Medical Education) at King's and Katrina Turner who has been promoted to Chair at the Centre for Academic Primary Care in Bristol.
Congratulations also to Jane Gunn who will be interim Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne for a year from February 2021.  

There may be other congratulations that we have missed - please let us know and we will include them with the honours and congratulations at the AGM 2021.

ASM 2021

We have decided to hold our 2021 ASM as a virtual meeting:  please hold the dates (30th June to 1st July) - abstract deadline 14th February. Visit the website for more details

Again, thanks to Richard and Suzanne, University of Leeds, who are working with members of SAPC Exec to organise the ASM 2021.

Regional SAPC and other meetings

Two regional meetings took place before the pandemic was declared:
SE SAPC Madingley
SW SAPC Bristol – abstracts published as a PDF on-line
The Trent meeting was cancelled but the book of abstracts was published as a PDF on-line

SAPC North was held successfully in November on ‘Zoom’ and the book of abstracts and the posters were also published as PDFs on-line 

Click here for regional meetings in 2021.

GP ACF Conference 2021

Save the dated 26th March - click for more details

Primary Care Mental Health conference 2021

Save the date: 26th May - click for more details

Update on SAPC Executive members

We were sad to say goodbye to James Prior who is moving away from primary care (after 12 years at Keele) and into international public health with a new research post at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, examining chronic disease epidemiology and interventions in Africa.  We thank him for his valuable contribution to SAPC.  James was the exec lead on communications and website and, more recently, stakeholders. 
James leaves a vacancy on SAPC Executive team.  If you would like to consider standing for election more information about the exec can be found here.  Do feel free to contact existing members of the Exec to find out what the role entails.

We will invite nominations from members in the spring.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

At the end of November we held a virtual meeting for the leads of SAPC SIGs.  The meeting revealed just how much the SIGs were able to achieve in 2020 including holding some virtual meetings.  We would like to thank all our SIG leads and co-leads for the work they do for their SIG.  Summary of activities
There is more information about SAPC’s SIGs here. Please get in touch with the leaders if you are interested in joining any of the groups.
Here is a message from the Pharmacy and Medicine Optimisation SIG:
Survey on improving medicine optimisation in care homes
Residents living in care homes often experience multiple health conditions and take multiple medications. However there appears to be lots of differences in the way that medicines optimisation is delivered in care homes across the UK. 
If you are you a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, pharmacy technician, care home manager or care home assistant and are involved in supporting medication management in UK care homes, then please consider taking part in this short survey (or forward on to relevant contacts). The aim of the survey is to gather feedback on a framework which we hope will help to standardise practice and improve medicines optimisation for residents living in UK care homes. 
If you are interested in taking part, please click here to complete the survey. Your responses to this survey are anonymous and will take around 10/15 minutes to complete. If you have any questions please contact Ian Maidment:  or Rosie Dunn.


The SAPC mentoring programme continues to support a number of members to help them develop their careers in academic primary care.  If you would like to consider applying to be a mentor or a mentee please find more details here
If you are interested in becoming a mentor on the programme please email

Award winners in 2020

The Yvonne Carter Award for outstanding early career researcher 

This award is in its 10th year and the winner was Dr Sarah Mitchell.  Click here to view her presentation.
The Award was reviewed by SAPC Executive and RCGP Scientific Foundation Board (SFB), the awarding bodies who had agreed from the outset of the award to provide funding for 10 years.  There was a consensus that we should continue to fund this award but were keen to implement some changes.  We decided to offer two awards for early career researchers, one in the category of academic general practice and the other for health service research.  Each award is for £500.  The Award was initiated in memory of Yvonne Carter and the two awards are now called the SAPC/RCGP Awards for outstanding Early Career Researcher.
Click here for details of how to apply for the awards in 2021 – closing date 31st January 2021

Principal Investigator of the year prize

In 2020 the winner was Miriam Santer who has recently become Professor of Primary Care Research at the University of Southampton – congratulations Miriam.

The call for PI of the year 2021 can be found here deadline  - 31st March 2021

New prizes

In 2020 SAPC introduced two new prizes: the PhD prize and the Medical Student essay prize.

PhD prize

There were two worthy winners:
Joht Chandan, University of Birmingham
PhD title: The health effects of childhood maltreatment and domestic abuse
Isabela Troya,  PhD awarded by Keele University
PhD title: Understanding self-harm behaviour in older adults: a systematic review and qualitative study
How to apply for the PhD prize in 2021 – deadline 31st March 2021

Medical student prize

Winner: Aiman Aslam, University of Cambridge
This essay combined reflections on a patient seen in general practice with reference to the evidence-base.  Click to download the essay
Highly commended: Mitra Golsorkhi-Ainslie, University of Nottingham
How to apply for the Medical student prize in 2021 – deadline 31st March 2021


SAPC appoints 3 new WISE-GP Interns

 WISE GP is a joint initiative between SAPC and RCGP to champion professional scholarship at the heart of modern General Practice. WISE General Practice was established to recognise and strengthen the place of academic skills at the heart of modern clinical practice; champion extended portfolio roles for all clinicians including GPs; and uphold academic primary care at the core of strong primary care.

Phase one of the work concluded with the launch of the new WISE-GP website over the summer.  The website includes a range of resources supporting clinical scholarship, including: training resources, the GEMS library highlighting current research, an Experts list to support your work, a full list of SAPC departmental Ambassadors (links to individual departments), and inspiring stories of scholarship  from individuals and groups.

We are excited to announce the start of Phase two of our work which will focus on building and extending the resource set, and optimising the uptake and use of those resources through engagement activities. With generous support from the NIHR School for Primary Care Research, we have been able to appoint 3 interns to work with us on this next stage.
Congratulations to our three new interns: Dr Emily Lyness (Southampton) who will be our early career lead; Dr Johanna Reilly (Edinburgh) who will be out education lead; and Dr Annabelle Machin (Keele) who will be our research lead. WISE interns will work with senior SAPC members within their own departments, Mark Orriss (web designer), and Joanne Reeve as WISE-GP lead to develop and deliver this next phase of work. Work will start in the New Year.

Congratulations again to all our interns and we look forward to sharing updates through the SAPC Newsletter.


Heads of Departments (HODs) 

SAPC HODs met in December to review a busy year...

A chance to celebrate the remarkable achievements of all... not least in making it to the end of the year!
But also to welcome the news of new promotions - Prof Anne Stephenson at Kings, Prof Katrina Turner at Bristol, and Prof Miriam Santer at Southampton.  And to consider the opportunities ahead for championing our discipline, and supporting and enabling career progression for colleagues across all our departments. We'll be sharing new ideas in spring 2021. But for now, we wish you all a restful and joyful Christmas break.
Joanne Reeve and Judith Ibison

SAPC Heads of GP Teaching Group (HoTs)

 The SAPC HoTs Winter meeting on 10/11 December 2020 came at the end of a challenging year for obvious reasons.  Almost all medical student teaching was transferred to remote delivery in March, with many innovative approaches emerging at speed.  A HoTs Virtual Learning Resources working group was urgently established at the start of the pandemic to collect and commission learning materials for shared use by all UK medical schools.   Free access was arranged for medical students to a range of existing resources normally available only by subscription eg from Red Whale and NB Medical Education.  HoTs in partnership RCGP fast-tracked release of  a set of on-line resources entitled  “Learning General Practice”,  and  in partnership with Medical Schools Council launched  the “Virtual Primary Care” website,  providing all UK and Irish medical schools with access to 150 professionally produced videos of “real life” consultations with associated educational materials.  By September all medical schools had returned to providing GP placements for senior students who are now deemed to be essential workers, and the HoTs continue to collaborate on developing new approaches to  help students learn medicine and medical generalism though GP experience in a very different clinical environment.   2020 has also been memorable in seeing the introduction in England, of a national minimum tariff for medical student placements in general practice,  moving funding for GP placements much closer to parity with those in secondary care. This follows  similarly favourable changes in Scotland after the Scottish Parliament announced an additional £5 million investment in medical education including a doubling of sessional rates for GP placements.   SAPC continues to be engaged in national negotiations to ensure appropriate, consistent and transparent mechanisms for funding undergraduate primary care education in medical schools and their associated teaching practices.

Joe Rosenthal and Alex Harding


This brings you up to date with SAPC’s activities throughout the year and all that remains is to wish you a safe and peaceful time during the festive season.

Carolyn Chew-Graham
on behalf of the SAPC Executive 2020