PhD student secures grant research funding support from Pharmacy Research UK

College of Human and Health Sciences PhD student Emma Davies has been awarded £24,582 in funding support from Pharmacy Research UK; to encourage Pharmacy-led research.


 Emma Davies

Pharmacy Research UK work directly with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the leading professional organisation for pharmacy and it was through this organisation that Emma was informed of the opportunity to apply for the Galen award.

The PRUK personal awards are designed to support those new to research as well as pharmacists leading their first projects, fulfilling one of PRUK’s charitable objectives of developing the pharmacy research leaders of the future. 

Emma has worked across all sectors in acute and chronic pain management for over 10 years.  Currently running clinics for GPs, Emma is involved in teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level.  As part of her PhD in Health Economics at Swansea University, Emma is examining trends in opioid prescribing and healthcare resource utilisation in Wales.

Emma said, “When the Welsh Government announced a move towards a Prudent approach to Health Care in 2014, pain management was highlighted as one of the first areas for review.  There have also been two reviews by the Advisory Panel on Substance Misuse, into fears over the misuse of prescribed analgesics, opioids being the greatest concern. These initiatives highlighted the understanding of opioid prescribing in Wales was not complete; available prescribing data is limited as it does not provide information about why the drugs were prescribed and knowing that is fundamental to improving care in future.

“My research will be examining the trends in opioid (morphine-like analgesic drugs) prescribing in Wales over the last 10 years and whether there is an association with opioid use and other health care utilisation i.e. do people using opioids use more services than those who do not.  I will also be undertaking an economic evaluation of the costs to the Health Service of opioid prescribing which I believe are greater than simply the price of the drugs.

“I am using the funding provided by Pharmacy Research UK to access Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) datasets, which cover the majority of the general practices in Wales, in addition to hospital attendances and other public services data.  This will provide a comprehensive view of how prescribing and health care utilisation fit together within the area of pain management and is a great opportunity to utilise the rich data and expertise available from the team in SAIL.

“I am fortunate to be supported in my research by Professor Ceri Phillips, Dr Jaynie Rance and Dr Bernadette Sewell from the College of Human and Health Sciences at Swansea University and also by Professor Roger Knaggs from the School of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham.”

Dr Rachel Joynes, Trust Director at PRUK said, “We are delighted to be able to fund these awards across the field of pharmacy research.  The breadth and quality of applications this year was outstanding and this has been reflected in the record amount that we have been able to award. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of these projects and the positive impact that they will have on pharmacy services and patient care.”