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Fellowship applications open for vital research to improve care

15 May 2018

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and Marie Curie are calling for applications for a fellowship that will fund vital research into improving primary care services for people living with terminal illnesses and their families.

The two organisations have highlighted the need for more high quality research to increase the evidence base for palliative and end of life care, an area that they say is significantly underfunded.

The £40,000 grant will be awarded to research that addresses pressing issues in palliative and end of life care related to general practice; namely the provision of out-of-hours services and the interaction between primary and social care.

Provision of out-of-hours care for terminally ill patients has previously been identified by patients, carers and clinicians as the highest priority for palliative care research. An exercise led by Marie Curie and involving around 30 other supporting organisations and groups1 highlighted the importance of 24/7 services to aspects including effective symptom management, helping patients avoid crises, and enabling care at home and in the community.

A previous survey of GPs also showed that only 39 per cent believe that their terminally ill patients get adequate access to care at night and at weekends2. Dr Catherine Millington Saunders, RCGP and Marie Curie Clinical Lead for End of Life Care, said:

“Over 500,000 people die in the UK every year; one person every minute. GPs play a key role in the effective delivery of high quality palliative care and end of life care for all those who need it, and end of life care remains a priority area for the RCGP. As an evidence informed discipline, it is vital that we keep investing in research which can make a real difference to the way that care is delivered. This fellowship is a really exciting opportunity from the RCGP and Marie Curie, and I am so pleased that it is being offered again in 2018.”

Dr Sabine Best, Head of Research at Marie Curie, said:

“We at Marie Curie are focussed on enabling research that will have a real and significant impact on clinical practice, and ultimately the quality of care that people living with terminal illnesses and their families receive. This research funding partnership with the RCGP is a great example of that and we hope that it will attract proposals that offer innovative responses to the challenges faced in providing high quality care and support via primary care services.”

A joint RCGP Marie Curie fellowship has previously been awarded to Dr Huw Williams, an Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff University and GP Partner at Westway Surgery in Cardiff. His work aims to develop and implement initiatives that will lead to more timely and effective symptom management, give patients better access to out-of-hours services, and increase awareness of patients’ preferences and treatment goals amongst out-of-hours providers.

The call for applications will close on 31 July 2018.

For more information visit RGCP - Research Grants and Fellowships

See more articles in Research

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