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associated projects

Understanding prognosis for patients with chronic heart failure

others in related specialties

Dr Rachel Brettell, ACF in General Practice

Dr Cathy Scott, ACF in General Practice 

ACF in General Practice

Dr Nicholas Jones

Pathway to an ACF position 

I became interested in the ACF programme whilst working as a Foundation programme doctor in London. Working on the medical team I was frustrated at the problems with delayed patient discharges and how this often led to subsequent secondary complications and worse patient outcomes. I undertook audit and service evaluation work with a colleague, which we presented to the hospital management. It showed the clear financial costs and negative impact for patients and led to the introduction of a nurse discharge co-ordinator. It was my first experience of how research which springs from problems encountered in day-to-day practice can lead to improvements in care for many patients.  

What does the work involve?

I currently work two days a week in general practice (GP) and three days in academic training, and:

  • I am undertaking an MSc in Evidence-Based Healthcare where the dissertation project will be a systematic review of prognosis in chronic heart failure.
  • I am involved in a number of other projects within the primary care team, including a James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership focused on advanced heart failure.
  • I am collaborating with members of the cardiology and population health teams on a randomised screening trial for atrial fibrillation detection.
  • I have taught undergraduates at Queen’s College and Green Templeton and am an Oxford University Medical Education Fellow. 

Beyond the MSc, research training has involved short courses focused on research methodology, international conferences and frequent local departmental seminars. 

The ACF programme has enriched the GP training experience. Learning and researching problems which I encounter regularly in clinic has made me enjoy and take more interest in clinical care and I feel more confident in the care I am providing patients in these areas.  


I chose Oxford because of the breadth and quality of research taking place within the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences. Compared to other national primary care centres, I felt the cardiology research done in Oxford was of a particularly high standard and had involved some research which had made significant changes to guidelines and patient care. I felt Oxford would offer the best opportunity to build a primary care academic career with a focus on cardiology.  


The programme in Oxford has enabled me to meet many interesting people and the research opportunities seem endless and full of potential. It has enthused me to continue pursuing an academic career beyond the ACF programme and I plan on applying for a DPhil position following completing training.

October 2017