Mr Alan Girling MA, CStat

Reader in Medical Statistics

Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Contact details

The Learning Centre
School of Health and Population Sciences
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, B15 2TT


Alan Girling has published research papers in Statistical Methodology, Applied Statistics and Health Economics, and has contributed to many medical research projects.


  • Chartered Statistician 1995
  • Diploma in Mathematical Statistics, University of Cambridge, 1972
  • Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, 1973
  • BA Mathematics, University of Cambridge, 1971


Alan Girling has a first degree in Mathematics and trained as a Statistician. Until 2003 he lectured in the Mathematics department at the University of Birmingham, researching mostly on methodological developments inspired by practical problems. He joined the department of Public Health and Epidemiology in 2004 to work in the MATCH collaboration – an EPSRC funded project based at Brunel University which also involves the Universities of Nottingham, Ulster and Birmingham. Here he has pursued ideas in the early-stage economic and business evaluation of medical devices, using Bayesian approaches to inform commercial development decisions. His role in MATCH has also entailed research collaboration and consultancy with large device manufacturers. At the same time, he continues to contribute as statistician to a number of medical studies.


Teaching Programmes

Postgraduate supervision

Currently supervising students in: the headroom method applied to the early-stage valuation of medical devices; and in a meta-analytic approach to the analysis of inter-country differences in the effectiveness of clinical treatments.


Since joining the department the over-arching theme of his research has been the application of mathematics and statistics to problems related to healthcare. Within MATCH (Multidisciplinary Assessment of Technology Centre for Health) this has included papers on economic evaluation in the development cycle for innovative medical devices (with a special focus on the role of Bayesian and Options-based approaches) and on patient preference in the evaluation of optional treatments – including the “Split-Choice” model for preference weights and the “True-Choice” model for sample-size calculations.

Outside MATCH, he has worked most recently on the statistical evaluation of the Safer Patients Initiative and as a grant-holder on the HTA BALLETS study (2005-2010) of liver function tests in primary care.

Further ongoing interests include: the special features and problems that arise in the evaluation of service delivery interventions; and the statistics of hospital league tables.


Arnold, D.T., Bentham, L.M., Jacob, R.P., Lilford, R.J., Girling, A.J. (2011)Should patients with abnormal liver function tests in primary care be tested for chronic viral hepatitis: cost minimisation analysis based on a comprehensively tested cohort.  BMC FAMILY PRACTICE  12, Article No. 9.

Amirta Benning, Ugochi Nwulu, Maisoon Ghaleb, Jeremy Dawson, Nick Barber, Bryony Dean Franklin, Alan Girling, Karla Hemming, Martin Carmalt, Gavin Rudge, Mary Dixon-Woods, Thirumalai Naicker, Amit Kotecha, M Clare Derrington, Richard Lilford (2010) Multiple component patient safety intervention in English hospitals: controlled evaluation of second phase BMJ 342 :d199

Amirta Benning, Maisoon Ghaleb, Anu Suokas, Mary Dixon-Woods, Jeremy Dawson, Nick Barber, Bryony Dean Franklin, Alan Girling, Karla Hemming, Martin Carmalt, Gavin Rudge, Thirumalai Naicker, Ugochi Nwulu, Sopna Choudhury, Richard Lilford (2010) Large scale organisational intervention to improve patient safety in four UK hospitals: mixed method evaluation BMJ 342 :d195

Richard J Lilford, Peter J Chilton, Karla Hemming, Celia A Taylor, Alan J Girling, Paul Barach (2010) Evaluating Policy and Service Interventions: A Framework to Guide Selection and Interpretation of Study End Points. BMJ. 341, 715-720

A.J. Girling, T.P. Young, C.A. Brown & R.J.Lilford (2010) Early-stage valuation of medical devices: the role of developmental uncertainty. Value in Health 13(5), 585-591

Alan Girling & Richard Lilford (2009) Split Choice. In Kattan MW, ed. Encyclopedia of Medical Decision Making. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

D. Arnold, A. Girling, A. Stevens and R.Lilford (2009) Capturing health-state utilities (preference weightings) for resource allocation - an empirical analysis of the literature comparing direct with indirect methods. BMJ 339, 385-388 (Online version BMJ 2009;339:b2688, doi: 10.1136/bmj.b2688)

Mohammed A Mohammed, Jonathan J Deeks, Alan J Girling, Gavin Rudge, Martin Carmalt, Andrew J Stevens, and Richard J Lilford (2009) Evidence of methodological bias in hospital standardised mortality ratios: retrospective database study of English hospitals. BMJ 2009;338:b780

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