Health Services

Centre for Health Services Research

Health Services Research is an interdisciplinary field of scientific inquiry that examines how best to deliver health care from the clinical, economic and patient perspectives, how best to use health care resources and how to involve patients in processes of care.

The research focus is on the 'patient care' end of the translational pathway that leads from basic science through to clinical research, implementation of research and improved health outcomes.

Our Research

Social Science Studies of Healthcare

Group Lead: Dr Jessie Cooper

The group comprises researchers from the social science disciplines including: medical sociology and anthropology, critical social policy, social and health psychology, economics, management and organisation studies. We are engaged in work that critically explores the interfaces around: healthcare policy and practice; patient and health professional experience; and the development and use of medical and healthcare tools and technologies (which includes high technology developments, as well as more ‘everyday’ technologies, such as diagnostic algorithms, protocols and patient pathways). Underpinning many of the studies in this area is the importance of understanding how such issues are shaped by various socio-cultural, political, economic and historical contexts and how these, in turn, construct the ways in which we can know and engage with developments in healthcare and technology.

Some examples of research from our group:

China Mills has been Principal Investigator on two consecutive British Academy grants researching global knowledge production and global standardisation in mental health, with a focus on the World Health Organisation's mhGAP Intervention Guide. The research looks at the social life of global tools, and the ways they 'do' mental health in diverse contexts around the world, including their appropriation, adaption and resistance.

Jessie Cooper is currently conducting a study on the ethics-in-practice of organ donation after circulatory death (DCD) in the UK. This study uses ethnographic approaches to understand how the process of DCD is made to work in everyday clinical practice in order to develop insights into its ethical implications.

Charitini Stavropoulou has been doing work on public perceptions towards new technology in healthcare and AI in particular. She is also interested in the role of patients in shaping health priorities, working closely with patient groups and charities.

Yaru Chen has been working on how GPs and other healthcare professionals adopt and adapt technological innovations. She is also interested in perceptions of healthcare professionals on the use of AI in radiology and the implications on AI adoption.

Alexandra Ziemann’s research is focusing on improving the spread of innovations in health and social care. Her current work investigates the influence of external contextual factors on the implementation of innovations, and the adaptation of innovations that spread from high to low- and middle-income countries.

Health Psychology Research

Research Lead: Dr Martin Cartwright

Health Psychology is the study of psychological processes in health, illness, and healthcare. Health Psychology focuses on relationships between cognitions, emotions and behaviours for healthy individuals, patients and healthcare professionals. By elucidating the drivers and barriers of individual behaviour and professional practice within these groups, Health Psychologists are able to develop specific interventions to maintain health, mitigate the impact of disease, and maximise the effectiveness of the healthcare system.

As a discipline Health Psychology has been at the forefront of methodological and theoretical innovations in applied health research for over two decades, and members of the Health Psychology Research Group have contributed to many of these developments. For example, novel methods to establish qualitative data saturation, the Theoretical Domains Framework, the Behaviour Change Techniques Taxonomy, and the Theoretical Framework of Acceptability.

Our group has expertise in topics including physical activity, help-seeking, screening attendance, treatment adherence, self-management, the impact of illness and treatments, technological interventions and healthcare professional behaviour. Our research focuses on a wide range of clinical populations that spans maternal and child health, developmental conditions, chronic health conditions, mental health conditions and neurodegenerative diseases. We collaborate with colleagues from across the School, the University and with an extensive network of external organisations nationally and internationally.

Acute and Critical Care Research

Group Lead: Professor Leanne Aitken

The Group focuses on developing an evidence base for care delivered within the hospital setting. Understanding how health conditions and treatment impact on patients and their families, and testing the impact of new treatment strategies, is necessary to improve both patient care and patient outcomes. Care delivered in the acute and critical care setting is performed by a range of different members of the health care team, and this multidisciplinary nature of the work is reflected in the project teams formed to undertake research in this area. Development of a strong evidence base to underpin acute and critical care practice enables improved processes of care and improved outcomes for patients and their families.

Some examples of projects in this area include:

Duncan Smith is a PhD student developing a complex intervention to improve the recognition and response to deteriorating patients in acute care settings. This intervention is being developed using the Theoretic Domains Framework to guide future behaviour change in the area.

Tracey Bowden is a PhD student examining strategies to improve cognitive recovery in patients who have undergone cardiac surgery. Tracey’s programme of work is beginning with a systematic review of the extent and domains of cognitive dysfunction in cardiac surgical patients, and will then progress to designing an intervention to improve recovery.

Leanne Aitken is leading a multi-phase programme of research designed to investigate reasons for difficulty in changing practice in the area of sedation of critically ill patients. The final phases of this programme of research will be to develop and test an intervention designed to minimise sedation in this group of patients.

Global Public Health Research

Group Lead: Dr China Mills

The group is dedicated to research that improves the lives of people worldwide, especially vulnerable people in resource-constrained settings. We conduct interdisciplinary research which has a strong relevance to health policy and practice and consist of members with a wide range of expertise. Our current and past research includes topics on maternal, child and adolescent health, health financing, midwifery, global mental health, and digital health technologies. For our work on global maternal and child health and midwifery, please also see the Centre for Maternal and Child Health. Our research places a strong emphasis on the social, economic and political determinants of health, and we have strong collaborations with partner organisations in several countries in Africa, Asia and South America.


  • China Mills
  • Christine McCourt
  • Maria Paula Prates
  • Susan Bradley
  • Katherine Curtis-Tyler
  • Jessie Cooper
  • Shashi Hirani

Examples of our group’s research include:

Maria Paula Prates researches “Health policies and sociocultural diversity: a comparative study on childbirth services” with Professor Christine McCourt, and funded by the Newton Fund (British Academy/ Royal Society). Before working in the UK, she was working as an Associate Professor in Social Anthropology at Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre (UFCSPA), Brazil. She has background is in Social Anthropology and works on the encounter between indigenous communities and the health system and other institutions and communities in Brazil. Her work focuses on gender and on "ethnic minorities" and her current work continues this focus in looking at the experience of Tibetan refugee and migrant women in Britain.

China Mills has recently acted as a consultant with the UK Government Department for International Development (DfID) to produce 4 rapid evidence reviews and a theory of change to guide DfID’s work and funding on mental health internationally – focusing on rights and participation, leadership and governance, services and community support, and mental health in challenging humanitarian contexts. China was Principal Investigator on two consecutive British Academy grants researching psy-and affective technologies across India, South Africa and Australia. Her work focuses on the social production and social life of global guidelines for mental health, including the WHO’s mhGAP Intervention Guide.

Haddijatou Ceesay is a PhD student at City doing qualitative research into perceptions of wellbeing among young women who have undergone FGM in The Gambia. She previously worked with non-profit organizations in The Gambia and the United States dedicated to ending violence against women.

Quality of Care for Older People

Group Leads: Dr Juanita Hoe and Michelle Parker

The Research Group for Quality of Care for Older People (QCOP) is a multidisciplinary group of researchers and educators, which brings together research and scholarship in older person’s care. Our primary purpose is to bring together researchers working to improve the care and quality of life for older people in hospital, residential and community settings. The group has links with a network of clinical settings locally within London and surrounding counties, other academic institutions and care organisations nationally and internationally. The group focuses on research into dementia, acute, continuing and end-of-life care for older people; its sub-themes include 'quality of life', 'quality of care' and 'quality improvement’.

The overall aim of QCOP is to:

  • undertake good quality research to improve older person’s care in hospitals, care homes and at home
  • promote high standards of evidence-based care in education and practice
  • develop research capacity in the area of older person’s care
  • engage the involvement of the public and patients in research activities
  • ensure that the work of the group demonstrates change in practice and policy for older people at a local, national and international level



Affiliated Members

PhD Students

  • Bandar Aleissa
  • Aliya Amirova
  • Tracey Dorey
  • Vivian Holmes
  • Oliver Matias
  • Jacqueline Miller
  • Victory Oyakhilome
  • Michelle Parker
  • Aparna Ramachandran
  • Gemma Ryan
  • Marlon Stiell
  • Paul Williams
  • Grants

    February 2020

    Minimisation of Sedation in Intensive Care Patients. February 2020 - January 2021, Barts Charity. Professor Leanne Aitken - £49,728.03

    October 2019

    Improving cognitive health in patients after cardiac surgery. October 2019 - September 2022, Barts Charity. Tracey Bowden - £279,911.99

    July 2019

    BREEZE IPF. July 2019 - September 2020, NIHR The Secretary of State for Health. Dr Judith Dyson - £9793.00

    July 2019

    Barts Service Evaluation. July 2019 - June 2020, Barts Health NHS Trust. Judy Brook - £ 249,54.00

    ROYAL MARSDEN II. July 2019 - June 2016, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. Dr Charitini Stavropoulou - £189,588.00

    June 2019

    App evaluation for UCLP. June 2019 - October 2019, UCL Partners. Dr Eamonn McKeown - £21,359.71

    February 2019

    Psy-technologies as global assemblage: histories and social lives of quantification and digitisation in three former countries of the British Empire.  February 2019 - June 2019, British Academy. Dr China Mills - £22,467.78

    October 2018

    Evaluating the national social health protection scheme in India. October 2018 - March 2020, GIZ Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH. Dr Divya Parmar - £44,196.00

    May 2018

    Developing a complex intervention for deteriorating patients using a causal modelling approach. May 2018 - April 2022, NIHR the Secretary of State for Health. Mr Duncan Smith - £342,158.91

    April 2018

    Alpha 2 agonists for sedation to produce better outcomes from critical illness (A to B trial). April 2018 - December 2021, NIHR the Secretary of State for Health. Professor Leanne Aitken - £150,188.18

    November 2017

    PEACH Study: Professor Julienne Meyer - £16,608.

    (IMPULSE) Implementation of an effective and cost-effective intervention for patients with psychotic disorders in low and middle income countries in South Eastern Europe: Professor Jill Francis - £134,170.19

    August 2017

    Developing theory based interventions to minimise drop-out in random trials. August 2017 - September 2019 Chief Scientist Office. Professor Jill Francis - £1773.60

    July 2017

    Staffing matters: a mixed methods study to explore, model and understand the relationship between care staffing and quality: Professor Julienne Meyer - £18,071.

    June 2017

    Optimising the outputs of National Clinical audits to support organisations to improve the quality of care and clinical outcomes: Professor Jill Francis - £320,149.

    A pilot study of the S-MAP (Solutions for Medication Adherence Problems) intervention in older adults prescribed polypharmacy in primary care: Professor Jill Francis - £141,105.

    SCENE: Improving quality of life and health outcomes of patients with psychosis through a new structured intervention for expanding social networks: Professor Jill Francis - £22,975.00.

    April 2017

    Understanding and improving antimicrobial prescribing in care homes: a multidisciplinary approach: Professor Jill Francis - £176,525.

    February 2017

    The Tower Hamlets School nurse programme for improving the emotional wellbeing of children and young people: Stephen Abbott - £27,659.

    December 2016

    An RCT of a patient-initiated botulinum toxin treatment model for blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm compared to standard care: Dr Sadie Wickwar - £32,061.

    May 2016

    ACT-at-Scale: Professor Stanton Newman - £53,203.

    March 2015

    Assessment of a web-based tool for parents of children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis coupled with standard care versus standard care alone: A randomised controlled trial: Professor Stanton Newman - £335,380.

    February 2015

    Chemotherapy induced cognitive changes in colorectal cancer patients: Dr Catherine Hurt – £350,000.

    March 2014

    Managing agitation and raising quality of life. A project to improve quality of life in people with moderate or severe dementia. March 2014 - February 2019. ESRC Economic and Social Research Council. Dr Juanita Hoe - £6816.80.

    March 2013

    AFFINITE: The development and evaluation of enhanced audit and feedback interventions to increase the uptake of evidence-based transfusion practice: Professor Jill Francis - £418,580.

    January 2013

    ATTILA trial: Assistive Technology and Telecare to maintain Independent Living At Home for people with dementia: Professor Stanton Newman - £45,273.