Background to research and synopsis

Occupational stress on NHS health workers is ever increasing due to growing national healthcare demands and increased governmental pressures for saving efficiencies. Poor staff health costs the NHS £2.4 bn p.a. from absenteeism; making staff wellness critical to the NHS agenda (NHS, 2018). Amongst the key challenges is the burnout epidemic amongst doctors (Panagiotis et al. 2018) and work shift patterns that are associated with poor health and fatigue (Caruso, 2014). Workplace health and wellness promotion initiatives are, therefore, imperative to address the prevalence of burnout and improve health. Here, a holistic emphasis on nutrition, physical activity (PA) and psychological wellbeing is crucial given that medicine has traditionally neglected this area. Whilst the UoW is leading the way in developing and implementing psychological strategies (Cheshire et al. 2017); this project will elucidate the role of PA and nutrition in improving doctors’ well-being. The PhD candidate will undertake action research using a mix-methods approach in order to design and evaluate the effect of a nutrition and PA interventions to improve the health and wellness of doctors. This programme will enable the candidate to gain transferable academic skills and exposure to collaborative applied research, which will enhance the candidate’s future career opportunities.

The project will be supported by an experienced interdisciplinary research team; which includes, psychology and doctor research (AC and DR), GP clinical practise (DP), nutrition and PA (SD). The supervision team have an excellent track record of supporting doctoral students to publish in peer-reviewed journals. The project team possesses strong ties with NHS trusts and relevant organisational bodies including, Primary Care Departments at Keele University and University of Oxford, the Royal College of General Practitioners, Guys and St Thomas NHS trust, as well as being members of the Practitioner Health Research Consortium. These collaborations will ensure project research questions are pertinent to the needs of society and also help support direct access to the end user (i.e. NHS doctors).

Recent publications by supervisors that are relevant to the project

Peters, D., Horn, C. and Gishen, F. 2018. Ensuring our future doctors are resilient. BMJ. 2018 (362), p. k2877. Cheshire, A., Hughes, J., Lewith, G., Panagioti, M, Peters, D., Simon, C. and Ridge, Damien T. 2017. GPs’ perceptions of resilience training: a qualitative study. British Journal of General Practice. 67 (663), pp. e709- e715.

Cheshire, A., Ridge, Damien T., Hughes, J., Panagioti, M., Peters, D. and Lewith, G. 2017. Influences on GP coping and resilience: a qualitative study in primary care. British Journal of General Practice. 67 (659), pp. E428-E436.
Lynch, S., Lown, M., Rajasingami, D., Peters, D., Ridge, Damien T., Cheshire, A., Fismer, K., Stewart-Brown, S, Lewith, H., Jagger, O. and Lewith, G. 2016. REFRAME: Resilience training for GPs. InnovAiT. 9 (6), p. 356–360. Peters, D., Lynch, S., Manning, C., Lewith, G. and Pommerening, D. 2016. The Day After Tomorrows Doctors: UK Undergraduate Medical Student Resilience, Reports on the Symposium 2016. University of Westminster Centre for Resilience.

Panagioti, M., Geraghty, K., Johnson, J., Zhou, A., Panagopoulou, E., Chew-Graham, C., Peters, D,. Hodkinson, A., Riley, R., Esmail, A. 2018. Association Between Physician Burnout and Patient Safety, Professionalism, and Patient Satisfaction A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 1;178(10):1317-1330.


Informal enquiries to: Dr Sanjoy Deb
E: [email protected] 

Entry requirements

Candidates should normally have a minimum classification of 2.1 in their Bachelor Degree or equivalent and preferably a Masters degree. Applicants whose secondary level education has not been conducted in the medium of English should also demonstrate evidence of appropriate English language proficiency normally defined as IELTS: 6.5 (overall score with not less than 6.0 in any of the individual elements).

Read more about our entry requirements.

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Please follow this link to apply for the programme most appropriate to your research, please note that the programme appears as MPhil on UCAS, however there is an option on the form to request PhD via MPhil, which is the standard route:

To make your application for (SLS7):

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Interviews will be held in June/July 2019. The Studentship title is SLS7 Full Scholarship and Fee Waiver School of Life Sciences. Please include this in your application, you must also list the Project Code in order for us to allocate your application to the correct.