UoA 2 Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care

The University of Exeter Medical School's (UEMS) Institute of Health Research (IHSR) investigates the ways health services are organised, delivered and experienced, and how they could be made more effective, and works closely with the Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences.

Beneficiaries of our research include communities and the public, as well as patients, health care professionals and policy makers.

Local academic collaborations have been facilitated with funding from the Exeter Science Exchange Bridging the Gaps project and the University's Humanities and Social Sciences strategy which includes themes on Medical Humanities and Societal and Lifestyle Shifts.

UEMS has four core themes that reflect national priorities:

  • Diabetes, cardiovascular risk and aging
  • Neuroscience and Mental Health
  • The Environment and Human Health
  • Health Services Research

Key results

  • 85 per cent of our research was rated as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).
  • This unit was ranked 9 out of 32 nationally.

Impact case studies

NameSummary
Improving treatment delivery for depression Depression is a major public health problem, producing substantial deterioration in health and well-being and costing the UK billions of pounds annually. A programme of research led by Professor David Richards, (trials and Phase IV implementation studies) has changed national policy on the treatment of depression (NICE guidelines). It has underpinned the UK’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme which has been widely implemented, leading to new treatment for more than 1million people, with a recovery rate in excess of 45 per cent, and more than 45,000 people coming off sick pay and benefits.
Supporting national policy-making - Extending the availability of drugs to combat Alzheimer's disease About 800,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s disease in the UK today, at a cost of about £23billion a year. Researchers produced a report in 2010 about the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of available drugs, which formed the basis for revised NICE guidelines (2011), recommending more widespread drug usage. In 2012 NHS data showed a big increase in drug prescribing since 2010. We estimate that if the 110,000 people with untreated mild disease at the time of the report are now being treated there would be an average delay in time of admission to care of 13,000 person years.
Preventing suicides in non-clinical populations and settings Our work on suicide prevention, led by Dr Christabel Owens in conjunction with Devon Partnership NHS Trust, has led to environmental changes to improve safety at public locations worldwide. The work has been recognised by ministries of health and cited in national suicide prevention strategies and guidance documents worldwide, and is associated with demonstrable benefits at specific high-risk sites. Ground-breaking research into the role of family members and friends in suicide prevention has led to a strategic partnership with all the major suicide prevention charities that are leading the way in public education in England.

Research institutes

InstituteAbout the institute
Institute of Health Services Research (IHR) The IHRs research strengths lie in applied health research and underpinning methodological work. We focus on research that reflects the needs of patients and of health service providers, based on partnership with the NHS and other public bodies and a strong commitment to public involvement.
Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences (IBCS)
Our research is people-focused and designed to deliver direct benefit to patients, the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry. We aim to understand the underlying molecular basis of disease and to apply this knowledge in innovative ways that lead to improved treatment and a better quality of life for patients.

Research centres

CentreAbout the centre
NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research (PenCLAHRC) PenCLAHRC’s research involves partnerships with health service professionals and users, who become beneficiaries.
Peninsular Technology assessment group (PenTAG) PenTAG (now called ESMI) works closely with NICE and its advisory groups, and many of its reports have contributed to changes in policy.
European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) The ECEHH works on the benefits of the environment to health as well as possible harms.
NIHR National School for Public Health Research (NSPHR) This Centre is a collaboration between eight leading academic centres with excellence in applied public health.

PenCLAHRC and ECEHH were major contributors to the three-year University grant to create a centre of excellence in public engagement.

Research groups

GroupAbout the group
Primary Care

Primary Care research focuses on health and health services research examining policy and practice in respect of care provided by clinicians and other healthcare providers working in community settings.

Public Health

This group is a major part of the work of the ECEHH, as well as being undertaken in PenTAG, and the NSPHR.

One of their strengths is their work on screening for and surveillance of disease. Another special feature is their emphasis on environmental issues and health.

In addition, they have a major interest in working with schools and disadvantaged communities to improve health and reduce health inequalities.

Health
Economics
Health economics research is focused on informing decisions around the delivery of health care and on the economic aspects of health and disease, including research on the factors that determine our health and wellbeing.
Epidemiology The Epidemiology and Public Health Group conducts research on genetic and conventional risk factors for chronic conditions of ageing.
Clinical Trials Research is carried out either locally or across many sites, nationally and internationally. Our researchers belong to leading research units and institutes based within the University of Exeter Medical School and across the University and NHS. 
PenPIG Our in-house patient involvement group meets regularly and advises us on how to make sure our research is relevant and will have reach, significance and impact.
Health Complexity Based on ten years of research the Health Complexity group has developed the connecting communities programme which tackles health inequalities and builds partnerships.

UoA 2 Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care

The University of Exeter Medical School's (UEMS) Institute of Health Research (IHSR) investigates the ways health services are organised, delivered and experienced, and how they could be made more effective, and works closely with the Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences.

Beneficiaries of our research include communities and the public, as well as patients, health care professionals and policy makers.

Local academic collaborations have been facilitated with funding from the Exeter Science Exchange Bridging the Gaps project and the University's Humanities and Social Sciences strategy which includes themes on Medical Humanities and Societal and Lifestyle Shifts.

UEMS has four core themes that reflect national priorities:

  • Diabetes, cardiovascular risk and aging
  • Neuroscience and Mental Health
  • The Environment and Human Health
  • Health Services Research

Key results

  • 85 per cent of our research was rated as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).
  • This unit was ranked 9 out of 32 nationally.

Impact case studies

NameSummary
Improving treatment delivery for depression Depression is a major public health problem, producing substantial deterioration in health and well-being and costing the UK billions of pounds annually. A programme of research led by Professor David Richards, (trials and Phase IV implementation studies) has changed national policy on the treatment of depression (NICE guidelines). It has underpinned the UK’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme which has been widely implemented, leading to new treatment for more than 1million people, with a recovery rate in excess of 45 per cent, and more than 45,000 people coming off sick pay and benefits.
Supporting national policy-making - Extending the availability of drugs to combat Alzheimer's disease About 800,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s disease in the UK today, at a cost of about £23billion a year. Researchers produced a report in 2010 about the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of available drugs, which formed the basis for revised NICE guidelines (2011), recommending more widespread drug usage. In 2012 NHS data showed a big increase in drug prescribing since 2010. We estimate that if the 110,000 people with untreated mild disease at the time of the report are now being treated there would be an average delay in time of admission to care of 13,000 person years.
Preventing suicides in non-clinical populations and settings Our work on suicide prevention, led by Dr Christabel Owens in conjunction with Devon Partnership NHS Trust, has led to environmental changes to improve safety at public locations worldwide. The work has been recognised by ministries of health and cited in national suicide prevention strategies and guidance documents worldwide, and is associated with demonstrable benefits at specific high-risk sites. Ground-breaking research into the role of family members and friends in suicide prevention has led to a strategic partnership with all the major suicide prevention charities that are leading the way in public education in England.

Research institutes

InstituteAbout the institute
Institute of Health Services Research (IHR) The IHRs research strengths lie in applied health research and underpinning methodological work. We focus on research that reflects the needs of patients and of health service providers, based on partnership with the NHS and other public bodies and a strong commitment to public involvement.
Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences (IBCS)
Our research is people-focused and designed to deliver direct benefit to patients, the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry. We aim to understand the underlying molecular basis of disease and to apply this knowledge in innovative ways that lead to improved treatment and a better quality of life for patients.

Research centres

CentreAbout the centre
NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research (PenCLAHRC) PenCLAHRC’s research involves partnerships with health service professionals and users, who become beneficiaries.
Peninsular Technology assessment group (PenTAG) PenTAG (now called ESMI) works closely with NICE and its advisory groups, and many of its reports have contributed to changes in policy.
European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) The ECEHH works on the benefits of the environment to health as well as possible harms.
NIHR National School for Public Health Research (NSPHR) This Centre is a collaboration between eight leading academic centres with excellence in applied public health.

PenCLAHRC and ECEHH were major contributors to the three-year University grant to create a centre of excellence in public engagement.

Research groups

GroupAbout the group
Primary Care

Primary Care research focuses on health and health services research examining policy and practice in respect of care provided by clinicians and other healthcare providers working in community settings.

Public Health

This group is a major part of the work of the ECEHH, as well as being undertaken in PenTAG, and the NSPHR.

One of their strengths is their work on screening for and surveillance of disease. Another special feature is their emphasis on environmental issues and health.

In addition, they have a major interest in working with schools and disadvantaged communities to improve health and reduce health inequalities.

Health
Economics
Health economics research is focused on informing decisions around the delivery of health care and on the economic aspects of health and disease, including research on the factors that determine our health and wellbeing.
Epidemiology The Epidemiology and Public Health Group conducts research on genetic and conventional risk factors for chronic conditions of ageing.
Clinical Trials Research is carried out either locally or across many sites, nationally and internationally. Our researchers belong to leading research units and institutes based within the University of Exeter Medical School and across the University and NHS. 
PenPIG Our in-house patient involvement group meets regularly and advises us on how to make sure our research is relevant and will have reach, significance and impact.
Health Complexity Based on ten years of research the Health Complexity group has developed the connecting communities programme which tackles health inequalities and builds partnerships.