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Do I really need to take a statin?: a behind-the-scenes look at influences on GPs’ advice about cardiovascular disease prevention

Series Name Doctoral College Week
Speaker Dr Caroline Cupit, College of Life Sciences
Type Lectures & Talks
When 25 Feb 2020, 05:00PM - 07:00PM
Venue Film Theatre, Ground Floor, Attenborough Seminar Block University of Leicester University Road Leicester LE1 7RH
Open To Public
Ticket Price Free
For Bookings Contact Kelly McCormack

We welcome the public audience to join us for our new series of the Doctoral Inaugural Lectures!

About this Event

These Inaugural Lectures are where the very best of our research degree graduates get the chance to return and share their work and their passion for research with the University and the public.

Lecture will run from 17:00-18:00 followed with a reception.

Free entry but booking essential!

See you there :)

Any dietary requirements please email

Our February speakers are

Dr Caroline Cupit, College of Life Sciences

Do I really need to take a statin?: a behind-the-scenes look at influences on GPs’ advice about cardiovascular disease prevention

Statins are one of a suite of medications which may be recommended to reduce a patient’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Under current clinical guidelines, approximately 12 million people in England are eligible to be prescribed them. However, widely publicised debate about their effectiveness, the prevalence of side-effects, and the influence of the pharmaceutical industry has contributed to considerable uncertainty among patients over whether they really are a ‘good idea’ for them personally. Both personal experience and anecdotes of side-effects among friend/family networks may add to this uncertainty. Experiences of taking other preventative medications (to treat risk conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, high blood pressure, or atrial fibrillation) may similarly raise questions about whether the projected future benefits of taking these medications are really worth the present inconvenience involved.

In this talk, I draw on a sociological study of cardiovascular disease prevention to examine why patients often feel pressured into taking preventative medications and find it difficult to achieve meaningful conversations with healthcare professionals about what would work best for them, in their own individual situations. I discuss how performance management and incentive systems influence the behaviour of, and advice provided by, healthcare professionals. Although intended to improve care, they may also have detrimental consequences when played out in frontline encounters with patients.

Caroline Cupit uses ethnographic and other qualitative social science methods (e.g. observation, interviews, policy analysis) to study healthcare settings and support improvement. Her doctoral work particularly highlighted aspects of care which may be overlooked within the contemporary organisation of healthcare services, but which are important to patients — for example: continuity; good communication practices; and reducing medication use. She is interested in showing how the institutional dimensions of healthcare such as financial contracts, policies and guidelines impact the ‘real world’ of frontline care. She is keen to promote systems and styles of care which are sensitive to the individual needs and preferences of patients, whilst also practicable and a good use of limited healthcare resources.

Caroline received an Improvement Science award from The Health Foundation to undertake her doctoral research and continues to present her work in academic, policy and practice-orientated fora. She now works as a Research Associate within the SAPPHIRE (Social science APPlied to Healthcare Improvement REsearch) group at the University of Leicester.

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