Professor Mark Ashworth, Professor of Primary Care at Kings College London has been recently appointed Visiting Professor of Primary Care at the University of Lincoln supporting a continuing collaboration between KCL and CaHRU. Mark has been a GP in the Elephant and Castle area of south London for 30 years. He is research lead for Lambeth DataNet, an anonymised primary care database of 1.2 million people, registered at all GP practices in Lambeth since 2005. This dataset has resulted in over 50 research publications and a particular strength is the focus on health inequality data recording. In Lambeth, the largest ethnic minority groups are Black African and Black Caribbean, with also large South American communities and the largest refugee group being Somalis. Primary care data have been used to identify these groups using high levels of recorded ethnicity, country of origin and language preference. The database is also linked with secondary care mental health (the ‘CRIS database’), with the South London Stroke Register (SLSR) and soon to be linked with SUS/HES data. Overcoming the Information Governance requirements for data linkage of anonymised primary care data has certainly been a challenge! But this has been acheived and will bring about research fruits of these linkages.
In another area of research interest, the mental health research group chaired by Mark developed the mental health outcome measure, PSYCHLOPS in 2001. This is a patient-generated measure and as such, tends to show greater responsiveness to change than standardised measures, while also capturing qualitative data about patient problems. Since 2015 it has been used by WHO in their PM+ and SH+ programmes, working on mental health interventions in conflict zones and developing countries: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-MSD-MER-16.2 Professor Niro Siriwardena has also used PSYCHLOPS in a large study exploring Sleep outcomes.
In new research, although there are restrictions access to Lambeth DataNet data, Mark has set up a collaboration with Professor Niro Siriwardena and Dr Zahid Asghar at University of Lincoln to use Lambeth DataNet data to explore multimorbidity and health inequalities in the housebound and nursing/care home residents. It is likely that this project will further highlight health inequalities in the management of multimorbidity.