Primary Care


  • 90% of patient contact in the NHS takes place in primary care
  • The primary care team is extensive, and multidisciplinary
  • Short hospital in-patient stays have led to an increased focus on primary care
  • General practices have identifiable lists of patients, providing an important opportunity for high quality primary care-based research
  • Researchers within this group have attracted substantial research income since 2004.
  • We work closely with colleagues elsewhere within the Medical School, across the University (School of Health and Sport Sciences, Mood Disorders Centre), and more widely within the UK (Universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Glasgow, Manchester)
  • We collaborate internationally with colleagues in Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand.


Who we are

Member of staffPosition
Professor John Campbell Professor of General Practice and Primary Care
Dr Gary Abel Senior Lecturer
Dima Arafah PhD Student
Dr Jessica Bollen Associate Research Fellow
Dr Jo Butterworth Postgraduate Research Student
Joy Choules Administrator for NIHR CRN 
Dr Christopher Clark Senior Clinical Academic Fellow
Professor Hasnain (Hayes) Dalal Honorary Clinical Associate Professor & Senior Clinical Researcher, RCHT
Assoc Prof Philip Evans Associate Professor of General Practice & Primary Care
Emily Fletcher Research Fellow and PhD student
Dr Lisa Gibbons Hon Clinical Associate Research Fellow
Dr Mayam Gomaz Cano Research Associate
Professor David Halpin Consultant Physician and Hon Professor
Ellie Kingsland PA to Professor of General Practice & Primary Care
Dr Sinead McDonagh Research Fellow
Dr Mike Noble Honorary Clinical Lecturer
Dr Leon Poltawski Research Fellow
Professor Suzanne Richards Exeter Associate
Dr Emma Pitchforth Senior Lecturer in Primary Care
Dr David Seamark Honorary Senior Clinical Research Fellow
Alice Sefton RCGP Tamar Faculty Administrator 
Dr Jane Smith Senior Lecturer in Primary Care
Chloe Thomas Administrator for the Primary Care Group and APEx 
Dr Fiona Warren Senior Lecturer in Statistics
Dr Bianca Wiering Research Fellow
Rachel Winder Associate Fellow
Dr Jenny Wingham Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer


Health Services and Policy Research

The Primary Care Research Group works very closely with the Health Services and Policy Research Group under Professor Jose Valderas.

NIHR Clinical Research Network: South West Peninsula

Associate Professor Philip Evans is the National Specialty Lead for Primary Care within the CRN and is also Cluster Lead for the Cluster based in King's College London, but working from the Primary Care department in Exeter. 

Dr Lisa Gibbons is an Honorary Clinical Associate Research Fellow in UEMS and is the Clinical Research Specialty Lead (Primary Care) for the the NIHR Clinical Research Network: South West Peninsula. 

Royal College of General Practitioners (Tamar Faculty):

The administrator for the RCGP (Tamar Faculty), Alice Sefton is based within the Primary Care Department.

Core recent/current research projects:

  • Alt-Con with Bristol - HSDR-funded research with Bristol examining alternatives to face-to-face consultation in primary care

  • AMR Historical Foresight - a 26-month AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) funded project taking an historical perspective seeking to understand the evolution of the AMR (antimicrobial resistance) policy agenda and to inform policymaking in the future.

  •  – NIHR (HTA) -funded 28-month research project, which seeks to develop and assess the feasibility and acceptability of an enhanced psychological care intervention within cardiac rehabilitation services for patients with new-onset depressive symptoms, compared to treatment as usual.

  • Clinical Pharmacist in General Practice

  • ESTEEM is an NIHR-funded cluster trial of triage for patients seeking same day appointments in primary care
  •  is a project commissioned by NHS England to compare the training and experience of GPs who have trained outside of the UK to support the UK's ambitions to recruit  GPs from overseas
  •  - NIHR-funded 5 year program grant. This program grant seeks to increase understanding of the potential and utility of the UK National Patient Survey
  •  - NIHR RfPB funded project looking at Inter-arm blood pressure difference, cardiovascular events, cerebrovascular disease and mortality: an Individual Patient Data meta-analysis
  • MIR  - NIHR-funded randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, examining the effectiveness of mirtazapine given in addition to SSRI or SNRI antidepressants for patients with Treatment Resistant Depression in primary care
  • ReGROUP – NIHR-funded (Health Services & Delivery Research) project which aims to inform and support the NHS in addressing current GP workforce issues in the UK

  • SoSAA - run by Universities of Bristol and Exeter with the specialist team working for the charity Survivors of Sexual Abuse Anonymous (SoSAA) about the support that is available for people who have experienced sexual abuse, rape or sexual assault. 
  • ViCo with Edinburgh - Chief Scientists' Office (Scotland) funded research examining the potential for video-consulting in primary care.
  • VOLITION Development of an intervention (VOLITION): To support older patients with multiple health problems in joint decision-making about their healthcare with a GP

Contact Us

University of Exeter Medical School (Primary Care)
Smeall Building, St Luke's Campus
Magdalen Road

Tel: 01392 722821 / 01392 723878