Support available for investigators has also been enhanced, with clearer guidance, supporting documentation and questionnaire templates available on the website. The two medical advisors, Rachel Knowles and Dominik Zenner and our scientific coordinator put in a lot of time and effort into helping researchers get their ideas into clear scientific proposals, and taking them through the process of gaining the necessary permissions. A clearer contract has now been developed to clarify the expectations of the BPSU of researchers, and what investigators can expect from the BPSU. I am very pleased to announce that the Tizard bursary for young investigators will now be re-established – (further details click here
In the autumn, I will be stepping down as chair of the BPSU Scientific Committee, and I will miss the very stimulating science and discussing the wide variety of conditions researched by the BPSU. Looking back over the last four years the funding environment has become much harsher for research, but the BPSU has continued to develop and modernise. We have managed to move to electronic reporting and online questionnaires, expanded the range of topics investigated with joint projects with psychiatrists and cardiologists, initiated a fast-track process to respond to urgent public health issues, and developed good practice in public involvement in research. The BPSU can offer a unique and cost-effective way of
undertaking active surveillance across the whole of the UK and Ireland, and it continues to
maintain high coverage rates only because of the reporting clinicians who believe the work
to be important – thanks very much to you all!
Prof Alan Emond
Chair, BPSU Scientific Committee
In the news
New Committee members
Dr Kathryn Johnson, Dr Sam Oddie, and Dr Alastair Sutcliffe have now joined the BPSU scientific committee. Kathryn is a neonatal paediatrician and is responsible for promoting research within the Leeds Neonatal Service. Alastair is a reader in General paediatrics at the UCL- Institute of Child Health having previously been trained as a paediatric epidemiologist and is supervising the Sir Peter Tizard project on hypocalcaemic seizures secondary to vitamin d seizures
. Sam is a Consultant Neonatologist at Bradford Teaching Hospitals and was the principal investigator on the BPSU hypernatremia study.
BPSU Scientific Committee, July 2013
Two new lay members have been nominated to the BPSU scientific committee – Mrs Madeline Wang and Dr Jane Sutton. Madeleine has, for many years, been actively involved in health related community work with children and young people. She has advised NRES, MHRA, and Royal College ofAnaesthetists on the development of information materials for children and young people. At present she is working as a patient advocate helping patients get the information from healthcare providers they want. Jane has wide ranging experience as an NHS professional. For 13 years she worked as a Public Health Specialist in Leicestershire. In 1991 she completed her PhD on ‘Accidents to Patients in Hospital’ and is a Member of Medicines for Children Research Network.
We say goodbye to Colin Michie and Simon Mitchell and lay member representatives Sue Banton and Ann Seymour. Thanks very much to all of them for many years’ support for the BPSU.
The BPSU continues to take an important role in the development of INoPSU
. This year saw the BPSU hand over the administration of INoPSU to the Australian Unit, who will be hosting the 8th INoPSU conference in Melbourne in conjunction with the International Paediatric Association conference.
During 2012/13, there were 19 publications relating to BPSU studies. The most recent has been the joint BPSU/psychiatry study on conversion disorder: Incidence and 12-month outcome of non-transient childhood conversion disorder in the UK and Ireland C Ani, R Reading, R Lynn, S Forlee, E Garralda. BJP published online April 25, 2013 Access the most recent version
at DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.112.116707.
Update on the future of the BPSU
We are pleased to announce that the BPSU has now secured funds to guarantee its financial viability for the next three years, and it will remain hosted by the RCPCH in London. Thanks to generous grants from Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity and the UCL- Institute of Child Health, and committed support from the Health Protection Agency, the Scottish Executive and the RCPCH, the BPSU will continue to function with a full-time scientific co-ordinator (Richard Lynn) and a part-time research facilitator (Rachel Winch).
We hope to start negotiating a new long term contract with the new Public Health England when it comes into being in April 2013.
The RCPCH is still reviewing its governance structures, but at the moment the BPSU continues as a tripartite model between RCPCH, the HPA/HPS and UCL. Co-ordination of the international surveillance network (INoPSU) has been successfully transferred to Sydney, which enables the reduced staffing in the BPSU office in London to concentrate on surveillance studies in the UK and Ireland.
The strategic priorities of the BPSU over the next three years include moving to e-reporting and investigating online questionnaires to reduce costs and administration; and developing closer links with college speciality groups to encourage more surveillance projects initiated by practicing paediatricians. Researcher charges which were increased in 2011 to £10 000 for the first year and £5 000 for subsequent years will be held at this time. This still represents excellent value for money considering the research support provided and the data collection facilitated by the BPSU.
The BPSU Scientific Committee recruited 2 new members in 2012: Simon Nadel from St Mary’s Hospital, London and Simon Lenton from Bath, to replace Shankar Kanumakala and Richard Reading. My thanks go to Shankar and Richard for all their work on the committee and their support for the BPSU over many years. Two new professional members and two lay members will be sought in 2013.
Please keep returning your orange cards, either by post or by email, as the unique strength of the BPSU is being able to mount surveillance studies and maintain a 90% response from paediatricians in the UK and Ireland.
With best wishes for 2013.
Professor Alan Emond
Chair, BPSU Executive Committee