Featured Intern Blog – SAPC Annual Scientific Meeting: Di-Facto Presentation

Our Primary Care intern and medical sciences student, Victoria Bak, was invited to attend the 49th Society for Academic Primary Care Annual Scientific Meeting at the end of June 2021, in which the Di-Facto team presented. Victoria wrote a piece about her experiences and reflecting on the event.


As part of my internship with the Di-Facto team, I was invited to attend the online 49th Society for Academic Primary Care Annual scientific meeting (SAPC ASM). The topic chosen was ‘Living and Dying Well,’ a primary care focus that has become even more crucial in the light of the pandemic. The ASM was held on an online platform, where you could easily access each presentation through the online programme. Workshops, presentations, networking sessions, and a variety of speakers covered a wide range of problems and solutions related to primary care throughout the two-day event.

On the first day, Professor Gary Abel gave a presentation about one aspect of the Di-Facto project ‘Awareness and use of online services in general practice: analysis of GP Patient Survey data’. The findings of the GP Patient Survey indicated that some patients were less likely to use online services, which will become a disadvantage if primary care services become accessible solely through digital methods. As a result, digital facilitation may be able to make a significant difference.  On the same theme and project, Dr Brandi Leach presented a poster titled ‘What is the potential for digital facilitation to support patient access to online primary care service? A scoping literature review’. The poster depicted the first stage of the Di-Facto project, illustrating what digital facilitation is, how it works, and how to use it effectively. Both Gary Abel’s presentation and the poster emphasise the need for digital facilitation in primary care to minimise inequalities, particularly for disadvantaged populations who may not have easy access to digital services.

The programme covered a wide range of topics in relation to primary care. This year’s Helen Lester Memorial Lecture was delivered by Dr. Wendy Ann Webb, who spoke compassionately about her research about end-of-life care priorities for the homeless population in the UK. Dr. Webb concluded that a new approach for supporting the homeless population at the end of life is needed, one which focuses on hostel services rather than palliative care and typical hospice services. According to the findings of the study, this could be a step forward in ensuring that the homeless population wishes, of remaining in a familiar setting, being remembered and not planning for their end of life care, are met.

Professors Joe Rosenthal, Alex Harding, and Dr. Jane Kirby presented new SAPC innovations in undergraduate teaching, including an online library of recorded GP consultations, a resource that demonstratrd how GPs manage individual consultations and make decisions. As a student, this topic resonated with me as there has been so much change in my online teaching over the past year. I attended several talks which talked about the qualitative data collection through ethnography and interviews, which are techniques also used as part of the Di-Facto project. This was especially eye-opening for me as an intern because during my degree I have only worked with quantitative data. Qualitative data is important for obtaining original insights and can result in new hypotheses being generated.

The event was a great opportunity to learn about and enjoy a wide range of topics, ranging from scientific research to reflective poetry readings, regarding the ASM’s theme. This was my first online scientific conference, and while it’s difficult to truly replace face-to-face interactions with online interaction, there were regular online networking sessions. I would like to thank John Campbell, my supervisor, for inviting me to the event. The event was both informative and enjoyable, and I look forward to exploring certain topics about primary care further.

Di-Facto Intern and Medical Sciences student Vicky Bak