Institute for Ageing

Louise Robinson

Interview: Louise Robinson

Louise Robinson is Professor of Primary Care and Ageing, and Director of the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing.

When it comes to caring for older people Professor Louise Robinson believes passionately about improving their quality of life and the care they receive.

And in her role as an academic GP she is able to influence the care patients receive at the front line – their doctor’s surgery.

Louise Robinson - interview page

High quality treatment and care

As Newcastle University’s Professor of Primary Care and Ageing, and as a working GP in a Newcastle practice, she is keen to ensure that the benefits of the University’s excellent research into ageing and the diseases of old age are translated into high quality treatment and care for older people.

"It’s about making a difference," says Professor Robinson. "It’s about ensuring that what we do in the University environment has an effect in the real world, in the community."

From 2009 to 2012 she was the Royal College of General Practitioners National Clinical Champion for Ageing and Older People, and is now its Champion for Dementia.

Professor Robinson has attracted millions of pounds worth of grants to the University for her research into transforming the quality of care given to people suffering from dementia.

Awarded the National Institute of Health Research Translational Professorship

Her work has been recognised by the award of a highly prestigious National Institute of Health Research Translational Professorship – one of only eight awarded in 2012.

Professor Robinson leads the Primary Care Group of the Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network (DeNDRoN), a national network of researchers. She is also a member of the University’s Ageing Health and Society Research Group.

"The purpose of that group involves a wide range of individuals looking at the impact of our rapidly ageing society, not just on individual health but on the community and society," she explained.

"Within the group we have people looking at how ageing affects population levels. There are others looking at predictors of disability and what the numbers of people with dementia are going to be in the future.

"Dementia care currently costs the UK £21bn a year, and that doesn’t include the huge informal costs of family carers and community support networks."

In her position as a GP, Professor Robinson has played a big role in the Newcastle 85+ Study. This has been investigating what is the fastest growing sector of the population, and involved more than 70% of Newcastle and North Tyneside GP practices in helping to recruit over 1,000 people from that age group for the project.

She is also involved in the second stage of the Medical Research Council’s national Cognitive Function and Ageing Study. This again has used GPs to recruit people aged over 65 for research into how well they are ageing, as well as looking at such things as the costs of care and disability levels.

One of Professor Robinson’s ambitions would be to help create a centre of excellence at Newcastle University for training GPs, hospital staff, community nurses and others in all aspects of dementia care.

"It would be difficult to find anywhere in this country where there would be the same professional buzz, skills mix and facilities to do this as there now is in Newcastle."

Contact Louise Robinson about her research.