Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) & Research & Surveillance Centre (RSC)




Bay Medical Group is one of over 600 practices in England contributing pseudonymised data for national research and surveillance.

This data enables continuous monitoring of infections and diseases in the community and is used in ethically approved research.

The RCGP RSC is the main source of information for Public Health England (PHE) and helps with prediction and managemtn of flu outbreaks and pandemics.

In 2017 the RSC celebrated 50 years of weekly influenza surveillance and reporting, a landmark anniversary. The dataset is nationally representative, having only small differences with the national population, which have now been quantified and can be assessed for clinical relevance for specific studies. With twice weekly data extractions, the dataset is one of the most up to date in the UK.

For further information please visit the website


Virology Surveillance Scheme

The Royal College of General Practitioners & Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC) provides clinical surveillance data and collects virological specimens from a representative national sample of general practices.

Its role is primarily to confirm cases of influenza, but also to look at the impact of other diseases, and to characterise more vulnerable populations. The RSC also supports the evaluation of vaccine effectiveness.

BMG are taking part in the general virological surveillance scheme which, continues to be a very important part of national surveillance.  The scheme is a programme to measure the effectiveness of the influenza vaccination and is also, used for surveillance of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, throughout the winter.

The burden of influenza during winter months and now the COVID-19 pandemic on the National Health Service is significant.  COVID-19 surveillance is vital for public health surveillance. It enables us to monitor the spread of the virus over time, across age groups and regions in a nationally representative population. This type of surveillance is essential for estimating the burden of disease and informs modelling of the progression of the pandemic in England.


Why Am I Being Offered A Swab?

You may be offered a swab if your GP or clinical practitioner suspects you may be suffering or have recently suffered from Flu, COVID-19 or a similar respiratory illness.  By providing this swab, you are enabling public health bodies to make crucial public health decisions.


What Happens Now?

The samples which you provide will be sent to PHE laboratory at Colindale to be tested for various respiratory illnesses including COVID-29, Influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus.

For more information about the surveillance scheme, accessing your swab results and data protection please click here


Further Enquiries

If you have further enquiries regarding the Oxford RCGP research and Surveillance Centre - PHE virology surveillance scheme please contact the BMG research Team. Alternatively if you require further details you can contact the RCGP team by emailing


RCGP & RSC Serology Surveillance for COVID-19

Bay Medical Group is taking part in the RCGP & RSC serology surveillance for COVID-19.  We are collecting blood samples to look at the background immunity of the population to COVID-19.  COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease and we are still learning about how it spreads and its effect on humans. analysing the blood samples will help us better understand the virus. If you attend an appointment for a prescheduled blood test you may be asked for an extra sample of blood, it is entirely voluntary and you do not have to take part. 

Understanding of  antibody response to COVID-19 is in its early stages and there is currently very little experience regarding use of antibody tests.  As this virus is new, there is not enough information about what levels of antibodies would mean adequate protection.  The results from the lab will not provide any information on whether you are protected from COVID-19 or not. Hence it is not possible to give either antibody result or interpretation of antibody result for COVID-19 to practices or patients.