Current news

New members 2017. Welcome to Dr Andy Northcott and to Dr Janet Underwood who joins the HPRU as honorary senior research fellow. Janet worked for many years as a kidney transplant nurse and recently completed her PhD thesis on the experiences of hospital visitors. Andy completed his PhD in public health at Manchester University and iscurrently working on an NIHR funded project on the care of people with dementia in acute setting.

Promotion 2017. Congratulations to Nicky Hudson on her promotion to a chair in medical sociology!

Book publication 2017. Congratulations to Sally Ruane on the publication of her co-authored book, Paying for the Welfare State in the 21st Century (Policy Press) with David Byrne of Durham University.

DMU OSCAR Awards 2017. Congratulations to Nicky Hudson who has been shortlisted for a DMU OSCAR Award for her Outstanding Contribution to Research Excellence.

Photo-exhibition and engagement event 2017. Periklis Papaloukas organised a photo-exhibition and engagement event in ‘The Gallery’ in DMU’s new Vijay Patel Building on the topic of his PhD research, LGBT persons living with multiple sclerosis. The exhibition included a series of short presentations and a networking event.

MitoSoc symposium 2017. Cathy Herbrand and Rebecca Dimond co-convened the MitoSoc Symposium: The sociology of mitochondrial disorders and novel reproductive technologies, in London, supported by the Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness.

Global public health seminar 2017. The Health Policy Research Unit and Politics and Public Policy Department were pleased to welcome Dr Neil Squires from Public Health England in May. Dr Squires discussed the work undertaken by PHE in promoting global health and the underpinning context in the 0.7% commitment of the UK government to overseas assistance.

Launch of the Centre for Reproduction Research 2017. The Centre for Reproduction Research (formerly the Reproduction Research Group) was launched in April. Led by Nicky Hudson, it is an interdisciplinary centre of expertise dedicated to the production of scholarship on the social, cultural and political aspects of human reproduction. The Centre’s aim is to develop new ways of thinking about the complexity of human reproduction through the integration of a range of disciplines, approaches and methods.

BBC Radio 4 documentary. Kylie Baldwin was a guest contributor/researcher BBC Radio 4 Documentary ‘The Great Egg Freeze’ (Broadcast 21 March 2017) and was an invited interviewee/speaker for CureTalkShow Chicago, USA slot ‘Motherhood on ice’ (broadcast 19 January 2017). 

BBC television and radio coverage of NHS report 2017. BBC East Midlands Today and Radio Leicester featured interviews with Sally Ruane in March following the publication of her report on the Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Much of the coverage focused on the problems surrounding the cuts to hospital beds which had been proposed in the Plan. The report has been widely disseminated.

British Sociological Association sponsored postgraduate conference 2017. Congratulations to Paris Connolly and Kylie Baldwin who, with other PhD students at DMU, convened an excellent conference on public sociology and the role of the researcher: engagement, communication and academic activism, sponsored by British Sociological Association Grant.

Promotion 2017. Congratulations to Caroline Law who has become a Senior Research Fellow.

Publication 2017. Congratulations to Peter Rivers on the publication of his and colleagues' paper exploring the prevalence of and factors associated with advice on prescription medicines in Health and Social Care in the Community.

Dementia project 2017. Mark Johnson and Raghu Raghavan will be working with other DMU colleagues on a project led by colleagues at Leicester Medical School into the diagnosis of dementia in Black and minority ethnic groups.

Publication 2017.Congratulations to Raksha Pandya-Wood and colleagues on the publication of their item about the need for ethically conscious standards in a framework for public involvement at the design stage of NHS and social research, in Research Involvement and Engagement.

Promotion 2016. Congratulations to Dr Andrew Clifton on becoming Associate Professor.

MEP invitation 2016. Dr Sally Ruane was invited by MEP Lidia Senra to speak on the Private Finance Initiative in the UK in Vigo, Spain. The conference welcomed speakers from various European countries with experience of the Private Finance Initiative.

University role 2016. Congratulations to Dr Stephen Handsley who was appointed to the De Montfort University Board of Governors in September 2016.

PhD success 2016. Congratulations to Dr Kylie Baldwin who successfully defended her thesis in August.

New research role 2016. Congratulations to Prof Brown who has become Health and Life Sciences Faculty Head of Research.

Feminism and gender symposium 2016. Sally Ruane and Prof Brown organised a one-day symposium in the School of Applied Social Sciences on the topic of feminism and gender in the social sciences. Staff and PhD students working in different fields across the School presented their work in what proved to be an engaging multi-disciplinary event.

Endometriosis support materials 2016. Dr Nicky Hudson and colleagues on the team for the ENDOPART2 project, working in partnership with leading UK charity Endometriosis UK, as well as freelance filmmakers, an animator, a designer and a clinical psychologist have produced a suite of materials designed to improve support for women with endometriosis and their partners including an educational intervention designed for delivery at Endometriosis UK support group sessions, two films and an online information and advice. A training session for Endometriosis UK support group leaders was delivered on 2 July 2016. These materials were launched and disseminated nationally in October 2016. Cathy Herbrand was one of the 12 Belgian women selected to receive an invitation from the Queen of Belgium to celebrate International Women’s Day in March 2016 in Brussels.

Postponing child birth symposium 2016. Dr Nicky Hudson, Dr Cathy Herbrand and colleagues hosted a two-day symposium on Postponing childbirth, extending fertility: biotechnologies and the transformations of reproductive life (a Wellcome Trust and DMU SASS funded project). The symposium invited key authors, researchers and other stakeholders in the field to explore and reflect upon this growing body of work and the ways in which the lifecourse and 'life itself' are being reconfigured by technologies of age and timing.

Local role 2016. Dr Sally Ruane was invited to become the chair of the Leicester Mercury Patient Panel which promotes patients’ interests in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland in association with the local newspaper.

New book 2015. Congratulations to Rob Baggott on the publication of the second edition of Understanding Health Policy (Policy Press) in October 2015. This is a fully updated edition which analyses the policy process and policies of the Coalition government period.

Promotion and commendation 2015. Congratulations to Julie Fish who has been promoted to Professor of Social Work and Health Inequalities. Additionally, in March 2015, Julie was commended by Stonewall through its Workplace Equality Index, in recognition of her work with the LGBT staff group at DMU over a number of years.

European role 2015. Mark Johnson has been appointed UK Rapporteur for the Health section of the European Commission/ International Organisation of Migration review of migrant experiences (the Migrant Integration Policy Index: MIPEX) by the migration policy group of the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs. His report is now available on their website. He is also reviewing another European project to develop professional competence training for medical staff dealing with culturally distinct service users, and will be reporting on that in Luxembourg in 2016.

Advisory board role 2015. Nicky Hudson was invited to be a member of the Reproductive Sociology Research Group Advisory Board at Cambridge University in May 2015.

Future Leaders Scheme 2015. Cathy Herbrand was awarded a place on the DMU Future Leaders Scheme, which concluded in December 2015. As part of this scheme, Cathy undertook a research visit to the Department of Anthropology, New York where she worked alongside Professor Rayna Rapp.

Cuban project 2015. Rob Baggott and George Lambie visited Cuba, in April 2015, in order to undertake research fieldwork in Havana, in connection with their British Academy funded project on the Cuban Health System.

Youth Council Advisor 2015. Paris Connolly, PhD student, has been accepted as a Youth Council Advisor for Female Genital Mutilation. She will also be a contributor on the Hub for Change #YouthForChange where she will be writing opinion pieces and other pieces on Female Genital Mutilation and gender based issues. She has delivered teacher training at Moat Community College, Leicester.

MBA in Health Management 2015. Jim Dooher played a lead role in developing the new MBA in Health Management for students in Myanmar and Singapore, which is the first overseas collaboration between Business and Law and Health and Life Sciences. Together with our partners Lithan Hall University based in Singapore, De Montfort University are the first private education providers to secure permission to deliver a health related programme in Myanmar. The students are primarily medical doctors seeking a programme that gives them the academic base and practical skills to take the Myanmar health system into a new era. The first cohort of students in Myanmar began in September 2015. Singapore students are currently being recruited.

Public Debate on health care 2015. In February, 2015, Sally Ruane spoke at a public meeting called to debate the Better Care Together programme, a five year plan for reorganisation of health services across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. John Adler, Chief Executive of University Hospitals of Leicester, spoke in favour of the programme while Sally offered an evidence-based critique. Around one hundred people participated in the meeting and BBC Radio Leicester coverage included an interview with Sally.

New job 2015. Kylie Baldwin was appointed to a Lectureship in Health Studies in February 2015.

Think-tank role 2015. Sally Ruane stepped down from the Executive Management Team of the Centre for Health and the Public Interest in January 2015. Sally worked for five years with others to establish the CHPI as a think-tank offering analysis of health policy and policy proposals in keeping with the funding principles of the NHS. The Centre celebrated its parliamentary launch in 2013 and has built a network of contacts amongst parliamentarians, policy experts and journalists. Sally remains a director.

New research group: December 2014. A new cross-faculty group allied to the HPRU has been formed. The Alcohol Research Network brings together DMU researchers interested in alcohol policy. Its founder members include Professor Rob Baggott, Dr Stephen Handsley and Dr Peter Rivers of HPRU along with Dr Victoria Knight (Criminal Justice), Dr Zetterstrom (Pharmacy) and Professor Gavin Dingwall (Law). The group already has a strong track record of publications and funding (with previous grants from Joseph Rowntree and the Alcohol Education and Research Council – now Alcohol Research UK). The group has already begun work, identifying priorities and submitting research bids. It has also been involved in consultations on Leicester’s Alcohol Strategy. See link to the Alcohol Research Network on the HPRU home page for further details and contacts.

New HPRU members: October 2014. The Health Policy Research Unit has welcomed new members. Steve Parker from Business and Law, Jim Dooher from the School of Nursing and Midwifery and Cathy Herbrand and Jessica Davies (both from School of Applied Social Sciences) have all joined the unit.

Journal article October 2014. Peter Rivers, along with colleagues R Weglicki and J Reynolds, has published an article in Nurse Education Today on the topic of ‘Continuing professional development needs of nursing and allied health professionals with responsibility for prescribing’.

Fifth edition of popular text book September 2014. The fifth edition of the 'The Good Research Guide' was published by Open University Press in August. The author, Martyn Denscombe, has included new material on the use of social media and online questionnaires in this latest edition. The book has been a consistent best-selling introductory research methods textbook, and it has been translated into Chinese, Arabic and Swedish.

Project Funding September 2014. Julie Fish has secured a grant of £16,400 from Hope Against Cancer, a Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland cancer charity for a project entitled ‘Improving the cancer journey for LGBT people’. Alison Lockley has been welcomed onto the project as Research Assistant.

Invited speaker September 2014. Nicky Hudson was an invited speaker at ‘Con/tested. Sperm, male sterility and masculinity’ at the University of Cambridge in September. The 2 day workshop, hosted by the ReproSoc research group, included academics from the UK, US, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, the Netherlands, and Denmark.

Invitation to join the Belgian National Ethics Committee September 2014. Cathy Herbrand has been appointed a member of the Belgian Advisory Committee on Bioethics for 4 years as of 1st September 2014. The Committee is an independent organisation providing advice on the ethical, social and legal problems raised by research in the fields of biology, medicine and health care, particularly in relation to respect for human rights. The Committee's remit also includes informing the public and the authorities about these issues.

Publication September 2014. Kylie Baldwin has published a paper, in collaboration with Lorraine Culley and Helen Mitchel on the topic related to her PhD research. The paper is called ‘Reproductive technology and the life course: current debates and research in social egg freezing’ and appears in Human Fertility 17, (3): 170-179.

Conference presentation August 2014. Cathy Herbrand presented a paper at the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) Conference in Argentina in August entitled “Egg procurement in practice: a comparison of the UK and Spain”. Themes discussed included the practical aspects of eggs procurement in the UK and in Spain. This research is part of a broader comparative study between the UK and Spain on the mutual co- constitutive interaction between assisted reproduction and regenerative medicine.

Kindle publications August 2014. Two of Rob Baggott’s publications are now available on Kindle:

Association for Public Service Excellence presentation August 2014. Rob Baggott and Professor Steve Griggs gave a presentation on local Health and Wellbeing Boards to a seminar ‘Public Health in front line services’ organised by the Association for Public Service Excellence and held at De Montfort University in June.

Public speech August 2014. Sally Ruane addressed a public rally to welcome the People’s March for the NHS to Leicester, alongside Deputy City Mayor, Rory Palmer, and local MP, Liz Kendall. Leicester was one of 23 cities in which the marchers stopped in their Jarrow to London march in defence of the NHS.

International visit July 2014. Julie Fish was visited by Vicky Pridmore, the CEO of BreastScreen Victoria and Sarah McGill, Director of New South Wales Cancer Institute, Sydney Australia in July to discuss how cancer screening programmes can be more accessible to underserved communities especially lesbian and bisexual women. The visitors were interested in the work undertaken at DMU to translate research findings so that they will have an impact on the design and delivery of screening services, particularly the collaboration with Macmillan Cancer Support and Breast Cancer Care. They were especially interested in the Improving the Cancer Journey for LGBT people research project, funded by local Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland cancer charity, Hope Against Cancer.


Presentations in Spanish Parliament: November 2013. Sally Ruane was invited by Members of Parliament with a particular interest in health services to speak in the national and regional Parliaments in Madrid. One of her presentations was on the 2012 Health and Social Care Act and the other on the private finance initiative. She was interviewed by Radio Cadena Ser about her work.

Large grant success for Brown November 2013. Brown and colleagues in several institutions have together won a large AHRC programme Grant for 'Creative practice as mutual recovery: Connecting communities for mental health and wellbeing'. This is a multi-centre study involving the universities of Nottingham, Derby, Wolverhampton, Falmouth and the Royal College of Music. This programme of related projects will attempt to bring together service users, carers and practitioners in creative activities centred upon music, photography, sculpture and storytelling as well as adult education. The value of the grant is £1.5 million over 2013-2018.

Research on safeguarding and domestic violence November 2013. Nottingham City Care Partnership is working with Josie Solomon to undertake a research project looking at views of the General Public on Child Safeguarding and Domestic Violence thresholds for concern. The aim is to explore, through focus groups designed to capture people's stories, what people consider to be the borderline between normal parenting/relationships and unacceptable behaviour. There is a substantial amount of research done on what health and social care professionals consider to be "thresholds for concern" but not much, if any, on what members of the public think.

Rod Griffin's local study completed November 2013. Rod Griffin has completed a project exploring: "Excessive Alcohol Use in older male drinkers in the Northamptonshire Town of Corby". Rod was working with a team from The University of Northampton and the project was commissioned by the Northamptonshire Drugs and Alcohol Action Team (NDAAT) and Alcohol Research UK. In particular, it explored the extent to which culture can impact upon drinking patterns among Corby men over 40 years of age.

Rob Baggott's Understanding Health Policy translated into Chinese November 2013. Professor Rob Baggott first published his book Understanding Health Policy in 2007. The book is of interest to those studying health policy from outside the UK because of its insights into how policy is made and in particular its focus on the hidden policy networks of advice and implementation. The publisher, Policy Press, in deciding to publish a translated edition, acknowledged that this reflected the increasing demand from China for academic work on health and welfare issues.

New Think Tank: October 2013. Sally Ruane participated in the Parliamentary launch of a new think-tank which she co-founded. The Centre for Health and Public Interest is an online think-tank which aims to promote the public interest and restore respect for evidence in the policy making process. The website can be found at The launch was hosted by Andrew George MP and chaired by Polly Toynbee of the Guardian.

New Paper: September 2013. Josie Solomon has published a paper in Health Policy with colleagues from Leeds and York Universities on the different perception of patients, pharmacists and doctors relating to prescribing and medicine-taking.

Front runners: September 2013. Peter Rivers has succeeded in winning university funding for 5 'front-runners' to assist him and colleagues with research into the perceptions of clients of the advice given to them by community pharmacists when prescriptions are dispensed. The students work will contribute to the project by collecting and analysing data. The project is due to be completed in September 2014.

New Research project: September 2013. Stephen Handsley is embarking with a colleague from Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust on a research project entitled: "Strengthening the Patient Care Culture: Lived Experiences of Nursing Assistants and Assistant Practitioners". This study builds upon previous evaluation of experiences of Nursing Assistants and Assistant Practitioners employed by the Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Following the Francis Report into the Mid-Staffordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which recommended a commitment to education and training of health care assistants, the research aims to establish the importance and prioritising of patient centred purposeful pedagogy in creating a culture of compassionate care by exploring the lived experiences, value base, attitudes and behaviours of a small sample of Nursing Assistants and Nurse Practitioners. By doing this, we aim to develop a deeper awareness and understanding of the potential barriers and obstacles in providing high quality care and an insight into how these experiences can help shape practice.

Presenting evidence: October 2012. Nicky Hudson was invited to attend a fact-finding meeting at the Nuffield Council on Bioethics as part of their current inquiry on ethical aspects of information disclosure in donor conception. The inquiry is being led by a Working Party that includes people with expertise in ethics, genetics, medicine, law, psychology and anthropology, as well as with direct personal and professional experience of donor conception issues. Over the next year, the Council will gather evidence and views from a wide range of people and organisations, with the findings planned for publication in a report in spring 2013. Nicky presented findings to the panel, which were drawn from a number of projects that she and Lorraine Culley have carried out in this field. More information about the inquiry can be found at:

Innovation: August 2012. This year saw the launch of the "INSPIRE" project; Innovation Supporting, Practice, Research and Education. The project is a partnership between DMU and industry which provides educational packages to pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. The assessment uses a new audit tool that requires students to consult with patients and other stakeholders in the redesign of healthcare services. An example of the new style of audit was published earlier this year in the Pharmaceutical Journal and there has been a lot of interest nationally. For further details contact Josie Solomon:

Community Pharmacy: August 2012. The community pharmacy DMU Square Mile project, led by Peter Rivers, was evaluated by Kirsty Rawlinson and Gurpreet Doal. The evaluation demonstrated that community pharmacies have considerable potential to support local public health initiatives in weight management. It is hoped that this work will lead to much greater involvement in public health among community pharmacies in Leicester. Further details: contact Peter Rivers

HPRU awarded a prestigious grant by the British Academy: July 2012. Rob Baggott and George Lambie have been awarded a prestigious grant by the British Academy. Their study, which begins in September 2012, will explore the Cuban health system and its lessons for policy makers. The grant was won against stiff competition and it is hoped will provide a platform for further work in translating the health policy experiences of other countries to UK and European settings.

Commenting on Policy: July 2012. Sally Ruane was invited by the Health Educators group in UCU to address a fringe meeting at the union’s annual congress in Manchester in June 2012. The presentation explored the implications of the new Health and Social Care Act. This was one of several invited presentations on the Health and Social Care Bill/Act given by Sally to a range of academic, professional and community groups in the past year, including a synodal meeting of the Church of England in Leicestershire, public meetings in Nottingham and Derby and members of the University of the Third Age in Leicester. In addition, an analysis of the letter sent by Nick Clegg and Baroness Williams to Liberal Democrat members by Sally Ruane, in collaboration with other academics and timed to coincide with the Liberal Democrat spring conference, received 15,000 hits during the course of the conference weekend.

Collaborating Internationally: July 2012. HPRU members continue to engage in collaborative work. For example, Julie Fish is Co-convenor of the Social Work and Health Inequalities Network, which is an international network of 300 social work practitioners and academics. Rob Baggott and Kathryn Jones continue as founder members of the European Network for the Study of Patient and Health Consumer Organisations (ENCUPO). Simon Dyson is working with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, USA and the University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, on adapting a policy guide for supporting children with sickle cell disease in schools. Sally Ruane continues to work with colleagues in Spain and a jointly produced book will be published later in the year for a Spanish audience comparing health reforms in Spain and England.

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