Research at Fakenham Medical Practice

Clinical research is fundamental to the work of the NHS.  Only by carrying out research into 'what works' can we improve treatments for patients and understand how to focus NHS resources where they will be most effective.

Fakenham Medical Practice feels research is of vital importance and is keen to promote, develop and participate in research studies and trials.  In the last 5 years, 341 Fakenham patients have taken part in research studies and it is thanks to our patients that this current year, we have been named as one of the top 5 recruiting practices in the East of England to research in primary care.  Fakenham has a particlar specialist interest in obesity and metabolic diseases and was fortunate to receive a legacy from Rona Marsden to fund research at the Practice.  We are working with the Norfolk Community Gut Research Group on a number of innovative studies based in primary care.


Why is Research Important? 


  • Helps identify and provide best possible care for you, your family and community
  • Looks at ways to prevent illness, improve current treatments and services
  • Increases knowledge about illness
  • Helps find out what you and other patients feel about the services you access
  • Can help educate and train staff
  • Can improve the NHS
  • Helps plan for the future.


How Can Patients Get Involved?

There are different ways that patients can be involved in research studies.  You may be asked during a visit to see your doctor or nurse whether you would consider taking part in a relevant research study, if appropriate.  Alternatively, you may be sent information through the post if your characteristics fit what a particular study is looking for. 

Research studies are conducted in a variety of different methods, from completing questionnaires, taking part in an interview, requesting use of your anonymised data to testing new treatments and new devices. 

If you are asked about taking part in research, usually someone in the care team looking after you will contact you. People in your care team may look at your health records to check whether you are suitable to take part in a research study, before asking you whether you are interested or sending you a letter on behalf of the researcher. We use a third party called Docmail to contact you on our behalf. We have a sharing policy in place with Docmail to protect your data.

Participation in a research study is entirely voluntary and you have the right to say "NO".  You do not have to give a reason if you decide not to take part.  Your care and relationship with your doctor will not be affected in any way.


What Happens If You Agree to Take Part in a Study?

If you do consider participating in a research study, you will normally be given or sent a patient information sheet (PIS) about the study.  This PIS will outline the purpose, methods, risks and benefits of the research study.  If you agree to take part after you have read the information, you will be given an appointment with one of the Practice research team to explain the study in more detail and answer any questions you may have.  Normally at that appointment, if you agree to participate in the study, you will be asked to complete and sign a consent form.  The consent form will also detail how your data is collected and protected.  Where possible, all data collected will be coded with a number rather than your name.  Everyone who has access to your records, or any of your details for research purposes, is bound by a strict code of conduct to keep your data confidential. 


Is It Safe?

Patients can be reassured that all research studies undertaken at Fakenham Medical Practice have gone through an NHS Research Ethics Commity to ensure that any risks have been looked at, that the study is of value to patients and the NHS and also that it respects the rights, safety and wellbeing of those taking part.


The Team

At Fakenham Medical Practice, we have a dedicated research team:

  • Dr K Powell
  • Dr B Coghill
  • Dr C Hughes
  • Nurse Sharon Thompson
  • Nurse Sharon Stebbing
  • HCA Linsey Wilcox
  • Kim Houlton (Administrator)

All Fakenham Medical Practice research staff have undergone Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training.  GCP is a key requirement for anyone involved in the conduct of clinical research as it forms the standard and guidelines to which all research is conducted. 


Current Studies at Fakenham Medical Practice

The Fakenham Medical Practice is currently participating in the following studies:

  • ATTACK: to test whether adding aspirin once a day can reduce the risk of major vascular events in patients with chronic kidney disease
  • Barack D Study: a 3 year study looking at the benefits of spironolactone in patients with chronic kidney disease.
  • IQUIT Study: a study aiming to improve quit rates amongst smokers in primary care using a tailored web and text message intervention.
  • NOAR: an observational study looking to monitor incidence of inflammatory polyarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in a community setting.


We work closely with the Primary Care Research Network East of England (PCRN) who are part of the National Institute for Heath Research, funded by the Department of Health.  They provide researchers with the practical support they need to make clinical studies happen in a primary care setting.  More information can be viewed here.

We have been accredited by the RCGP as 'Research Ready'.  Research Ready is a quality assurance programme for all research active UK GP practices.  It is designed in line with the UK Research Governance Framework's legal, ethical, professional and patient safety requirements.

We are always willing to listen to our patients so if you have any ideas or comments about existing research studies, or suggestions about new research, we would welcome your comments.

If you have any queries about research at Fakenham Medical Practice, please contact our research administrator, Kim Houlton by email:


Advertisement - Volunteers Required for Research Study

We are seeking healthy volunteers to take part in an online study designed to increase healthy choices to food.  I norder to take part, you must be:

  • Aged 18+
  • Be interested in losing weight, and have a BMI >25 kg/m2
  • Have access to the Internet
  • Not have a diagnosis of an eating disorder, or received bariatric surgery.

You will complete 5 online sessions (one week apart) which will examine food value and choice, as well as some reaction time tasks.  Each session will take approximately 10 minutes.

Follow this link to participate:

For each session of the study you complete, you will be placed into a prize draw to win one of four iPads.

If you have any questions about this study, please contact Dr Andrew Jones by email


Useful Links - Join Dementia Research: a place to register your interest in participating in dementia research.


Publications and Research

The Fakenham Medical Practice has been involved in many research studies over the years and has featured in the following publications:

Obesity Papers

  • Evaluation of a multidisciplinary Tier 3 weight management service for adults with morbid obesity, or obesity and comorbidities, based in primary care. Jennings A, Hughes C A, Kumaravel B, Bachmann M, Steel N, Capehorn M and Cheema K.Clinical Obesity, 4: 256-266. doi: 10.1111/cob.12066
  • NICE - Accredited Commissioning Guidance for Weight Assessment and Management Clinics: a Model for a Specialist Multidisciplinary Team Approach for People with Severe Obesity Obesity Surgery 2016 1-11 DOI 10.1007/s11695-015-2041-8.O'Kane, Parretti H, Hughes C A et al.
  • Guidelines for the follow-up of patients undergoing bariatric surgery. Clinical Obesity  June 2016 Vol 6 Issue 3 210-224. Smith T, McKenna M, Salter C, Hardeman W, Richardson K, Hillsdon M, Hughes CA, Steel N, Jones A.
  • A systematic review of the physical assessment tools used in primary care and their psychometric properties. Fam Pract. 2017;34(4)384-391 (ISSN: 1460-2229). Hopkins et al. (including C A Hughes)
  • New commissioning guidance for weight assessment and management in adults and children with severe complex obesity. Accepted Obesity Reviews July 2017.

Other Research Articles

  • Hughes C A.
    Where should you put the sigmoidoscope?
    Gastroenterology in Perspective October 1999.
  • Hughes C A.
    Breast Cancer Follow-up in General Practice.  A questionnaire study of GPs in Norfolk 1999.
    Presented RCGP Spring Meeting 2000.
  • C A Hughes, J Connolley.
    Breast cancer follow-up: an interview and focus group study.
    Breast Cancer Research 2006 Vol 8 (Suppl 2), P40.
  • M Iturriza Gomara, R Simpson, A M Perault, C Redpath, P Lorgelly, D Joshi, M Mugford, C A Hughes, J Dalrymple, U Desselberger, J Gray.
    Structured surveillance of infantile gastroenteritis in East Anglia: incidence of infection with common viral gastroenteric pathogens.
    Epidemiology and Infection January 2007.
  • P K Lorgelly, D Joshi, M Iturriza Gomara, C Flood, C A Hughes, J Dalrymple, J Gray, M Mugford.
    Infantile gastroenteritis in the community: a cost of illness study.
    Epidemiology and Infection January 2007.