Personal profile

Educational background

1989 PhD (Sociology)
1971 B.Soc.Sc 2(i) Hons. Sociology

Research interests

1. Health care organisation – here work has focused on the sociological analysis of policy changes within the NHS, including the growth of consumerism and patient partnership, the blurring of the boundary with private medicine and the loss of trust in medicine and the medical profession. I have recently completed co-directing an ESRC funded study of nursing knowledge and work organisation within NHS Direct and its effects on doctors and related professions. In 2007 (with colleagues at Royal Holloway and Bangor) I was awarded a research grant from the ESRC on `Managing medical regulation and performance’, focusing on the impact of publishing surgical outcome data on clinicians and managers. This has just been completed. Recently, with colleagues from St George’s and Surrey University I was also awarded an SDO grant (Vari Drennan PI) to research the contribution of physician assistants to primary care in England.

2. Violence against professionals - currently I am writing up a series of studies of violence against health care workers (in primary and secondary care), probation officers and Anglican clergy. These data were collected for an ESRC funded project on violence against professionals in the community and for a Home Office funded study on violence in hospitals (I was PI for both).

3. Sociology of acute and chronic illness – in this area work has concentrated on disability and handicap in young people with asthma, the risks and benefits of treatment for people with cystic fibrosis, decision making with regard to the use of HRT, and the role of self-help groups for people with CFS/ME. The last three projects have been undertaken by PhD students under my supervision. I am also writing up the results of a three year study of children as decision-makers in their hospital care funded by the Department of Health. I have recently completed a study of patients’ and professionals’ views of tele-monitoring in heart failure with colleagues from the National Institute for Health Research at Imperial. In addition, in conjunction with a colleague from the University of Limerick (PI Lee Monaghan) I have also been awarded a two-year research grant from the Higher Education Authority of Ireland, under its Programme of Research for Third Level Institutions, to study `Children, perceptions of embodied risk and asthma’

4. Sociology of pharmaceuticals – work in this area has concentrated on the use of treatments for anxiety and depression, paying particular attention to patients’ experiences of using these treatments and debates about their use in terms of the social problem literature and the literature on medical controversies. A study on the use of hypnotics and other sleep medications has just been funded by the ESRC, with myself as PI and Professor Simon Williams (Warwick) and Professor John Abraham (Sussex) as CIs. These concerns will be set in the context of studying claims that sleep is a social problem and debates around pharmaceuticalisation. I have also recently been awarded research grants by the New Zealand Health Research Council and the Marsland Fund (co- applicant with colleagues in New Zealand, PI Prof Kerry Chamberlain Massey University) to study the use of hypnotics and other medications in everyday life.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or