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University of Exeter Medical School

Dr Bharat Pankhania

Dr Bharat Pankhania

Senior Clinical Lecturer (E&S)

 Medical School Building F.11


Medical School Building, St Luke's Campus, Magdalen Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


Dr Bharat Pankhania has widespread experience of advising on national communicable disease control action plans at national and international level. As a senior Consultant in Communicable Disease Control,

Dr Pankhania coordinated complex and very sensitive look back exercises, where there had been laboratory errors or hospital exposure of patients to infections, these are major national exercises and very sensitive operations. 

Dr Pankhania introduced the use of timely and accurate surveillance date to produce Quarterly Health Protection Reports to local stake holders. A driver for early recognition of infectious disease trends and timely actions.

Dr Pankhania qualified from the Welsh Nation Schools of Medicine, Cardiff, Wales and a trained as a General Practitioner in 1989. Thereafter he did further training in Respiratory Medicine. Having had experience of both Primary and Secondary Care, Dr Pankhania realised that to make a bigger contribution to people`s health, primary prevention of illness was important, thus he trained in Public Health Medicine and thereafter did further training in infectious diseases and Communicable Disease Control. He worked as a Consultant in Communicable Disease Control, for local authorities, the newly created Health Protection Agency and subsequently Public Health England. 

Dr Pankhania’s experience includes: 
Pandemic Influenza outbreak planning and major plan testing exercises: Development of a web-based surveillance system for recording the first 500 plus cases of a pandemic, to quickly understand the new virus and thus better implement control measures. He was the local Lead for Pandemic Influenza planning at Public Health England  and became the reference point for outbreak planning, testing systems and control strategies. 

Ebola and SARS: Dr Pankhania was immersed in and contributed to the Ebola and SARS surveillance and control methodologies, specialist screening methods at ports of entry.

Tuberculosis: As lead investigator, Dr Pankhania became an expert in investigating clusters of Tuberculosis and using newly developed tools such as, interferon blood tests for TB, clinical sample Spoligo typing and subsequently Variable Number Tandem repeats (VNTR). Using these new tools the investigating teams are able to identify, with much greater precision, the spread of infection, and identify contacts and cases which were related but otherwise not picked up by standard questionnaires. Dr Pankhania was the lead coordinator for the TB Restricted Fibre Length Polymorphism (RFLP) study. 
Dr Pankhania developed protocols for Tuberculosis Investigations and controlling TB outbreaks in schools, hospitals and prisons.

Legionella: Dr Pankhania has led on and was the Legionella lead in his previous job. He investigated complex outbreaks, advised hospitals and hotels and also developed expertise in the health and safety law relating to Legionella, as well as giving evidence in the Coroners court where a hospital was found guilty of neglect. 

Other areas of expertise: 
Creating tabletop exercises for real time simulation of major events, radiological, biological and environmental disasters. 

Outbreak investigations and working with senior doctors at hospitals and regional centres. 

Refugee work as Public Health Doctor in India after an earthquake

Investigating Meningococcal infections and diphtheria clusters plus many other notifiable diseases

Teaching, Training, Mentoring. Imperial University, Bristol University, Plymouth University, University of West of England, Public Health England 

Dr Pankhania is creative and looks for solutions to common problems, well before it became the norm, he was ahead of the system in creating a secure website for access to the Health Protection on call handbook and any other information needed in an emergency. Similarly, he centralised and created a safer, secure, responsive single point of contact for any out of hours calls with an audit trail too. 

Another innovation of Dr Pankhania was the delivery of Chief Medical Officers and other emergency alerts to a wider network with a clear audit trail, this in the days before emails became the norm. 

Education commitment 
Dr Pankhania is passionate about education and passing on knowledge about how to operate as a good doctor. He is interested in Health Protection / Communicable Disease Control. 
He is enthusiastic about primary prevention of illness. A better public health for all. A firm believer and proponent of living in harmony with the environment, incursions into the environment by mankind is leading to emergence of novel infections. Zikha, Ebola, SARS, MERS, Corona outbreaks are all examples of this. 

Dr Pankhania has worked in Public Health Medicine for over 25 years, he feels better health is often derived by a better-informed population, able to make their own judgements and decisions. Therefore Education is the main empowering agent for better health. 

Teaching, training and mentoring have always been Dr Pankhania’s forte, he has been the training lead for Health Protection at his Public Health England, SW Region. Additionally, he has held honorary teaching positions, for over 15 years, with superb feedback at University of Bristol, Imperial University, University of St Mark and St John, University of West of England.

Dr Pankhania started his new post at University of Exeter Medical School in 2017 and he is head of Public Health Medicine teaching.  

Dr Pankhania has been the Faculty Advisor SW Region for the Faculty of Public Health and is an examiner for their Part B examination for the last 10 years. 

In order to make the right impact in the public interests and long term well being of his constituents, Dr Pankhania decided to stand for public office, and in May 2019, he was elected as a Councillor for Bath and North East Somerset. 

LinkedIn Profile:

Twitter: @DoctorShaib


Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB Bch): University of Wales, College of Medicine. 1985

Membership Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP): Royal College of General Practice. 1989

Diploma Geriatric Medicine (DGM): Royal College of Physicians. 1990

Diploma in Child Health (DCH): Royal College of Physicians. 1992

Membership Faculty of Public Health Medicine (MFPHM): Royal College of Physicians. 1999

Fellowship Faculty of Public Health (FFPH): Royal College of Physicians. 2007


I trained at the Welsh National School of Medicne, Cardiff, Wales.

I have been very priviledged to have had several careers and finally, I can bring into play experiences from all of my careers and give the best to my students at Exeter Medical School, where I am incharge of Public Health Medicne.

My careers and experiences have been in but not limited to: 

General Practice

Care of the elderly and rehabilitation medicne

Respiratory Medicine


Public Health Medicine

Communicable Disease Control

Teaching and training.


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Journal articles

Lee ACK, English P, Pankhania B, Morling JR (2021). Where England's pandemic response to COVID-19 went wrong. Public Health, 192, 45-48.
Pollock AM, Roderick P, Cheng KK, Pankhania B (2020). Covid-19: why is the UK government ignoring WHO's advice?. BMJ, 368  Author URL.
Alwan NA, Bhopal R, Burgess RA, Colburn T, Cuevas LE, Smith GD, Egger M, Eldridge S, Gallo V, Gilthorpe MS, et al (2020). Evidence informing the UK's COVID-19 public health response must be transparent. Lancet, 395(10229), 1036-1037.  Author URL.
Osama T, Pankhania B, Majeed A (2020). Protecting older people from COVID-19: should the United Kingdom start at age 60?. J R Soc Med, 113(5), 169-170.  Author URL.
Majeed A, Molokhia M, Pankhania B, Asanati K (2020). Protecting the health of doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Br J Gen Pract, 70(695), 268-269.  Author URL.
Peto J, Alwan NA, Godfrey KM, Burgess RA, Hunter DJ, Riboli E, Romer P, signatories, Buchan I, Colbourn T, et al (2020). Universal weekly testing as the UK COVID-19 lockdown exit strategy. The Lancet, 395(10234), 1420-1421.

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External Engagement and Impact

Advice to Government, Parliament, devolved and English regional administrations, other national, international, regional or local agencies; advice to non-government organisations and to private practice

Elected local Councillor for the City of Bath and North East Somerset.

Bringing my Medical, Public Health, Health Protection training to good use in Local Government. 

External Examiner Positions

University of Manchester, external examiner, Masters in Public Health.

University of Birmingham: External Examiner, Intercalated BSc in Public / Global Health.

National Recruitment for Training in Public Health.

Faculty of Public Health: Part B Examiner.

Evidence of impact on policy and professional practice

Elected representative: British Medical Association National Public Health Medicine Committee.

Faculty of Public Health: Curriculum Development Committee member. 

Invited lectures & workshops

University of St John and St Mark, I deliver their Health Protection module for their Masters programme.

Imperial University: Masters in Public Health; Health Protection Module

University of Bristol, Medical School: Undergraduate Teaching

University of Bristol, Medical School: Intercalating Global Health Bachelors degree. 

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Dr Pankhania is an enthusiastic teacher. He is keen to introduce new ideas and concepts to his students, an expert at making difficult topics easier to understand and master.

He trains and tutors trainees in Public Health Training, giving them a good grounding in Communicable Disease Control and Health Protection.

At Masters level Dr Pankhania teaches on Health Protection Modules and Global Health:

At Imperial University London and University of Bristol, University of West of England and University of St Mark and St John, Plymouth. 

IHe also teaches undergraduate students at University of Bristol.

Visiting lecturer at University of West of England and at Weston College, Environmental Health Course (affiliated to the University of West of England).



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