The invitation to join the as yet unnamed research group came at the right time for me. I was a newly appointed VTS Course Organiser and felt the need to obtain some academic confidence.
The group chose the name Fenland to emphasise the evident fact that is was not solely a ‘Cambridge group’ though over the years nearly all the meetings were held there. This did not prevent members travelling as much as 80 mile round trips.
The meetings were varied and stimulating, we discussed specific projects and learnt a great deal about how much must be done to refine a good idea into a workable research project, and how designing the project and collecting the data was much more enjoyable than writing up let alone publishing work.
I did publish on the use of the medical record during out of hours, and disseminated work on telephone advice to national research meetings. This seems very modest now but was a welcome achievement at the time.
The group did teach me of the need for meticulous planning of research and (something we did not consider at the outset) the need to obtain grants!
Perhaps most importantly it served a useful and enjoyable purpose for me, more for the links with like-minded GPs and the discussions on quality, rather than addressing the research agenda that we knew was needed to further the greater goal of attaining an academic GP department in Cambridge.