Professor of Health Services Research


After qualifying in medicine from Birmingham University in 1974, I worked in NHS hospitals before joining Save the Children Fund (UK) and running a child health programme in Nepal. I then trained in public health in Oxford, undertaking a doctorate on the reasons for the epidemic of surgery for glue ear in the UK. The next three years were spent half time as a lecturer at the Open University writing a new distance-learning course 'Health & Disease' with a biologist, sociologist and economist, and half time as a Consultant in Public Health for Oxfordshire Health Authority. In 1985 I moved to a Senior Lectureship at the LSHTM, set up what is now the Department of Health Services Research & Policy in 1988 (which I headed for five years) and was promoted to a Chair in Health Services Research in 1995. I was Dean of Faculty from 1998 to 2003. In 1996, together with Nicholas Mays, I established the Journal of Health Services Research & Policy which we continue to edit jointly. I was elected and served as the first Chair of the UK Health Services Research Network from 2005-8. Since 2008 I have chaired the National Advisory Group for Clinical Audit & Enquiries which advises the DH and NHS England and serve on several other national advisory bodies on quality assessment and improvement, playing a leading role in the adoption of patient reported outcome measures.




My principal Masters' teaching contribution is as organiser of the Health Services module and deputy organiser of the distance learning version. I also contribute sessions on 'how to write a paper' and ' giving oral presentations' as part of the transferable skills programme for research degree students. During 2003-6 I led the development of the new distance learning version of the MSc Public Health, acting as co-editor of the series of 20 books and co-author of two of them.


My main current research interests are focused on the assessment of the quality of health care and the performance of health care providers. Most of my work has been in the fields of surgery and critical care but now also encompasses dementia care. Work on performance assessment has involved methodological interest in the use of non-randomised data for evaluative research, the use of patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) and the quality of clinical databases. The latter led to the establishment and development of the Directory of Clinical Databases. My research on adult critical care has been in collaboration with the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre of which I am a Trustee.

Since 2004 I have been exploring the contribution that history can (and should) make to contemporary health care policy debates and to public understanding of health care. This has resulted in a book of walks, Walking London's Medical History, perfect for those interested in the history of health care, architecture and walking in London.

Research areas

  • Clinical databases
  • Critical care
  • Evaluation
  • Evidence use
  • Health care policy
  • Health outcomes
  • Health services
  • Health services research
  • Health status measurement
  • Quality improvement
  • Research : policy relationship


  • Epidemiology
  • History
  • Medicine


  • United Kingdom

Other interests

  • Quality assessment
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