Nottingham role in monitoring the health of the nation during 2012 London Olympics

Medals from the Olympic Games
11 Feb 2013 16:03:16.207
A real-time clinical monitoring system that receives data from 3,000 GP practices across the UK played a crucial role in helping to safeguard public health during the London 2012 Olympics.

QSurveillance, a not-for-profit partnership between The University of Nottingham , healthcare software provider EMIS and ClinRisk Ltd, monitored the UK for outbreaks of infections such as vomiting and diarrhoea that could have adversely affected the large numbers of people attending the Games.

The system provided key data for The Syndromic Surveillance Report developed by the Health Protection Agency (HPA). It analysed and interpreted real-time health information to identify potential public health threats and alert the NHS.
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QSurveillance was used by the report — delivered over 73 days to stakeholders including the London Organising Committee of the Olympics and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the Department of Health — alongside other key sources for information on public health including calls to NHS Direct and NHS24 in Scotland, GP out of hours consultations and attendees at hospital emergency departments.

Dr Julia Hippisley-Cox, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and General Practice at The University of Nottingham and co-founder of QSurveillance®, said: “With such a large population influx during London 2012, ensuring that response to public health issues could be immediate and effective was essential and for that, regular, accurate data was needed.

“With access to 3,000 GP practices across the UK, we were able to provide immediate updates 100 per cent of the time, on trends and hot spots for symptoms by analysing patient consultations. It was an honour to have been involved in such an important project for the UK.”

Dr Shaun O’Hanlon, Clinical & Development Director for EMIS, said: "Projects such as this show what a valuable tool GP practice data can be and how it can be used for real national benefit. We are very grateful to the practices who voluntarily share their information on a daily basis so that great initiatives like this can become a reality." 

The system was so accurate that it was able to pick up mild increases in asthma rates before the Games, and even the impact on health of mild temperature changes. No major threats were detected throughout the monitoring period.

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More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.

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QSurveillance® is a real time clinical surveillance system based on data from 3,400 EMIS general practices spread throughout the UK. It forms a critical part of the UK emergency response to pandemic flu, natural and chemical disasters.

EMIS is the UK’s leading supplier of healthcare software and related services to GP practices.

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More information is available from Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox by email at


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