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RCGP Research Paper of the Year award for CAPC-led study on urinary infections in children

From left to right: Prof Alastair Hay (lead author), Prof Carolyn Chew-Graham (RCGP Research Paper of the Year Chair) and Prof Chris Butler (Professor of Primary Care, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford and co-author)

22 September 2017

Research that helps GPs identify urinary tract infections in young children has been awarded a 2017 Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research Paper of the Year award.

Urinary tract infections (UTI) in young children can lead to kidney damage but are notoriously difficult to diagnose in primary care because symptoms can often be vague and unclear. A definitive diagnosis can only be achieved by a urine test but collecting urine samples from babies and children under five is a challenge.

After a three-year study involving more than 7,000 children, the research team developed a technique to help GPs and nurses to decide from which children a urine sample should be collected. This involved a clinical rule using symptoms and signs, which they found worked better than routine clinician diagnosis. Once a urine sample is obtained, the second step of the rule adds dipstick results to help identify who should be treated with antibiotics.

The technique could reduce the amount of time and effort used to collect unnecessary urine samples and increase sampling among children most likely to have a UTI. The researchers hope this will also help GPs and nurses better target antibiotic prescribing so only those who are likely to benefit from antibiotics receive them.

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), results from the DUTY (Diagnosis of Urinary Tract infections in Young children) study, which involved researchers from Universities of Bristol, Southampton, Cardiff and Kings College London, were published in the Annals of Family Medicine (July 2016).

The award was given in the 'Children, Reproduction, Genetics, Infections' category and was presented at a ceremony in London on 19 September.

Professor Alastair Hay, lead author of the paper and Professor of Primary Care at the Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC), University of Bristol said: “On behalf of the research team, the study parents and the hundreds of practice staff who supported recruitment to the study, I am delighted the DUTY study has received this recognition.”

Further information


Improving the Diagnosis and Treatment of Urinary Tract Infection in Young Children in Primary Care: Results from the DUTY Prospective Diagnostic Cohort Study. A.D. Hay et al. Annals of Family Medicine. July 2016. 

Primary care clinicians wanting to use the results to support clinical decision making may wish to print Figure 2 of the paper.

About the Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

The Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC) is a leading centre for primary care research in the UK, one of nine forming the NIHR School for Primary Care Research. It sits within Bristol Medical School, an internationally recognised centre of excellence for population health research and teaching.

About the NIHR

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): improving the health and wealth of the nation through research. Established by the Department of Health, the NIHR:

• funds high quality research to improve health

• trains and supports health researchers

• provides world-class research facilities

• works with the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all

• involves patients and the public at every step For further information, visit the NIHR website

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