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Bristol researchers launch unique dataset of GP / patient consultations

25 January 2016

Researchers from the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol have created a unique dataset of 300 GP / patient consultations that will soon be made available for research and educational purposes.

Millions of consultations between GPs, patients and caregivers happen across England every day. Despite this, and the importance of communication for health care outcomes, research and teaching based on datasets of recorded encounters are relatively uncommon. Challenges include perceived difficulties in recording, participant recruitment, disruption of workflow, data protection issues and costs associated with data collection and storage.

Despite these challenges, as part of the One in a Million study, a research team from the Centre for Academic Primary Care successfully recorded 327 adult patient consultations with 23 different GPs between July 2014 and April 2015. All individuals who gave their consent to participate in the study were asked whether they would be prepared for their data to be archived and to allow other researchers to access it, subject to further ethical approval, and 89.8 per cent (n=300) consented. From March 2016, academic researchers will be able to apply to request access to the dataset via the University of Bristol Research Data Repository.

Dr Rebecca Barnes, senior research fellow at the Centre for Academic Primary Care said:

“Opportunities for academic researchers and teachers to work with high-quality existing consultations datasets are few and far between. So in line with a wider push towards making publicly funded research data available to the scientific community we were funded by the NIHR School for Primary Care Research to create this unique dataset. This dataset is a hugely valuable resource for a wide variety of health communication research because in addition to the consultations data, each recording is also linked to wider patient survey and anonymised medical records data.”

The One in a Million team will be showcasing the data archive, outlining conditions and procedures for access at the launch event on Friday 4 March in Bristol.

The event is aimed at those with an interest in using the archive for primary care research, for example:

  • individuals considering applying for a doctoral or post-doctoral fellowship and looking to work with consultations data around topics such as the diagnostic process or mental health
  • teams with a requirement to do research initiation work with consultations data prior to a larger grant application to demonstrate proof of concept
  • individuals needing to develop and test methodological innovations such as new scales to assess communication between GPs and patients

The archive is also aimed at educationalists interested in the development of medical or research training materials, for example for GP consultation skills teaching or for training in methodological techniques for analysing communication in primary care.

Further information

If you are interested in attending the launch event, please book your ticket here.

For more information about the archive, please contact the One in a Million team at

Bristol researchers launch unique dataset of GP / patient consultations
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