People, patients and communities

Our work in this area addresses the key concepts, approaches, challenges and opportunities in negotiating the relationship between health and social care as it is provided, and as it is experienced by people, patients and communities.

Governments in many countries are encouraging greater involvement of patients and the public in health care decision-making in the belief that services will be more accessible, acceptable and effective if the people who use them are involved in their planning, design and delivery.

Moreover, the experience of people using a service is increasingly recognised as a critical dimension of health care quality, and efforts to understand and improve that experience are longstanding within the NHS and many other health systems internationally.

ContactHilary Brown or Karen Newbigging 

Our research

Current and recent research projects focusing on the experiences of patients and members of the public include:

We involve patients and members of the public in our research as co-researchers, as advisors, as representatives, as participants, and as a key audience for our findings.

Members of the people, patients and communities theme

Dr Kerry Allen

Dr Kerry Allen

Senior Lecturer

Dr Kerry Allen is a senior lecturer at the Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham. With a disciplinary background in medical sociology, she is interested in applied research that improves health and care services, especially for people with complex needs or long term conditions. 

Her core research areas are: 

  • long-term conditions, self-management and ...

Deborah Davidson

Deborah Davidson

Senior Fellow

Deborah is a Senior Fellow in Organisational Development and Leadership, and Director of Education & Learning and at the Health Services Management Centre.

As a social researcher, interested in public organisations, ways of organising, and change, Deborah’s main research interests are focussed on developmental improvements in the quality and capability of public services that ...

Dr Nicola Gale

Dr Nicola Gale

Reader in Health Sociology and Policy
College Director of Postgraduate Research

Nicola Gale, MA, PhD, is a health sociologist, with a track record in both single-discipline sociological research and interdisciplinary health research where she has brought her sociological perspective and skills to projects in fields of health services research, public health, primary care, community-led and complementary health care.

Dr Gale is committed to theoretically-informed empirical ...

Dr Karen Newbigging

Dr Karen Newbigging

Honorary Reader (Associate Professor)

Karen joined HSMC as a Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Policy and Management in November 2013. Originally qualifying as a clinical psychologist, Karen has over thirty years’ experience in the health and social care sector, including direct service provision and commissioning. For the past fifteen years Karen has been involved in research, consultancy and system development for a broad range ...

Dr Iestyn Williams

Dr Iestyn Williams

Reader in Health Policy and Management
Director of Research

Iestyn is a Reader in Health Policy and Management and HSMC Director of Research. He is involved in a range of research, teaching and knowledge transfer work and has a broad methodological experience and expertise. He specialises in social science approaches to Health Services Research, employing mixed methods study designs. He has specific expertise in: priority setting, decision making and ...


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