Rethinking community health care delivery
Our mission is to deliver world-class research, engagement and training that advances primary care, influences health policy and develops professional skills for the delivery of better health care in the community.
The Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences is the largest, top-ranked centre for academic primary care in the UK and leads world-class research and training to rethink the way healthcare is delivered in general practice and across other community settings. The department’s main research focus is on the prevention, early diagnosis and management of common illness, bringing together academics from many different backgrounds to work together to produce benefits for the NHS, for populations and for patients.
OUr research is internationally excellent
The Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences was ranked the top centre for primary care research in the UK in the 2014 national Research Excellence Framework exercise. We were similarly judged a top centre on our 1996–2008 assessments, so have been one of the world’s most important primary care centres for almost 20 years.
Our research is led by internationally renowned scientists; many of whom are practising GPs, but we also have academics from a range of non-medical disciplines including the social sciences and humanities.
We cover the broad range of issues that you might expect to consult your GP about including cardiovascular and metabolic disease, infectious diseases and childhood illness, diet, smoking and cancer. We also focus on understanding and improving the experiences of patients, utilising big data, developing digital health interventions and working internationally.
We have methodological expertise in clinical decision making and diagnostics, clinical epidemiology, medical statistics, modelling, qualitative research and the wider application of social science theory and methods to address practical and theoretical challenges in health and care settings. We also have a dedicated in-house Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit.
The department has recently developed a new stream of clinical research which seeks to improve our understanding of chronic disease and how they are monitored by patients and their clinicians. We have an international reputation for developing research methodologies to ensure that research findings have a positive impact on clinical practice.
Our department is home to 13 of the National Institute for Health Research's 200 most prestigious and prominent researchers. These NIHR Senior Investigators contribute significantly to the health sciences as senior leaders, demonstrate research excellence and lead in training of the NIHR's people.
learn in our thriving academic environment
We teach elements of the undergraduate programme in medicine including arranging placements for medical students in GP practices. Our teaching is consistently ranked very highly by Oxford undergraduates. We also provide a highly supportive environment for postgraduates whether they are registered for a DPhil, enrolled on one of our short courses or the Evidence Based Health Care programme. We welcome domestic and international students to join our experienced and enthusiastic teachers, mentors and supervisors in aspirational study and research.
Our work makes a difference
Our research is very quickly translated into improvements in patient care. In just the past 5 years our research has changed clinical guidelines in many areas, including finding an effective treatment for COVID-19 in the community, more effective ways for the NHS to manage patients who wish to lose weight, identified early signs of serious illness in children, enhanced the diagnostic pathways for diabetes, heart failure and for hypertension, improved the recognition and treatment of stroke risk in atrial fibrillation, and altered health policy on smoking cessation. To ensure our research is relevant and beneficial, we work closely with patient and public representatives.
staff and students working to develop new evidence and innovations in primary care.
GP practices taking years 4-6 medical students on their GP attachment.
patient and public representatives involved in shaping our projects.
primary care research themes. Find out more
Head of Department:
We are home to several important research centres:
- Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine
- Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group
- NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Oxford and Thames Valley (NIHR ARC OxTV)
- NIHR Community Healthcare MedTech and In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operative
- Three themes of the Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Centre
- ORCHID / Royal College of General Practitioners Research Surveillance Centre
- Medical Sociology and Health Experiences Research Group, including the Healthtalk research programme www.healthtalk.org
- Interdisciplinary Research in Health Sciences (IRIHS) Group
How we are funded
Research in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences comes from several sources, including the National Institute for Health Research; medical charities including Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation; UK Research and Innovation, UK Government; European Commission; UK and overseas industry; Royal College of General Practitioners.