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Dr Ruth Riley

Dr Ruth Riley

Dr Ruth Riley
BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD

Honorary Senior Research Associate

Area of research

Improving Access to Support for GPs

Office 2.09 Mon/Tue
Canynge Hall,
39 Whatley Road, Bristol BS8 2PS
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+44 (0) 117 928 7296


Research Summary

I am an applied social scientist with a background in psychology and medical sociology.  I am a mixed-method researcher but my predominant interest and experience lie in undertaking qualitative research to explore patients’ and professionals’ views and experiences within healthcare settings. I have had a longstanding interest in mental health, professional-patient communication, patient-centred care and holistic approaches to health care in primary and secondary care.  I am also committed to undertaking research with marginalised or socially excluded communities to address inequalities in health.

Other topics of research interest include: emotion work; patient-centred and narrative based medicine; communication in healthcare; and holistic based approaches in contemporary healthcare settings. 

Patient and Public Involvement

I have been interested in and have demonstrable experience of PPI in research since completing my MSC in 2003.  I have meaningfully engaged, involved and collaborated with patients, service users and members of the public in research activities.  This has included involvement of patients and service users using the co-researcher model in studies related to homelessness and mental health. I am interested in counter-hegemonic narratives and have been a long-standing advocate of the co-researcher and co-productive research models.  These approaches value experiential expertise and are committed to empowering individuals to enable them to meaningfully participate in the research life-cycle.


I have recently completed a qualitative study to understand patients’ and health care professionals’ views and experiences of NHS Health Checks in NHS Bristol.  The study used interviews with patients and health care professionals to explore the topic area.

My PhD employed a mixed-method approach to understand the ways in which GPs, nurses and pharmacists manage patients' emotional cues and concerns in healthcare encounters.

Previously, I worked on a range of research and evaluation projects within the health and social sectors since 2003. Examples of the type of research undertaken to date, include:  comparing the communication styles of different healthcare professionals working in primary care; undertaking a qualitative synthesis of lay perspectives of taking prescribed psychotropic medication; managing and conducting a process and outcome evaluation into the closure of a rehabilitation unit for individuals with complex needs; exploring meanings of health and access to health promotion activities in individuals with severe mental illness; exploring meanings of health and access to health promotion services in young, homeless people; and identifying homeless womens’ experiences of verbal, physical and sexual violence.


  • Marjorie C Weiss, Joanne Platt, Ruth Riley, Betty Chewning, Gordon Taylor, Susan Horrocks, Andrea Taylor (2014). Prescribing Decision Making and Patient Outcomes in GP, Nurse and Pharmacist Prescriber Consultations. Primary Health Care Research & Development
  • Ruth Riley, Marjorie C Weiss, Joanne Platt, Gordon Taylor, Susan Horrocks, Andrea Taylor (2013). A Comparison of GP, Pharmacist and Nurse Prescriber Responses to Patients’ Emotional Cues and Concerns in Primary Care Consultations. Patient Education and Counseling 91(1):65-71
  • Weiss, Marjorie; Platt, Jo; Riley, Ruth; Taylor, Gordon; Horrocks, Susan; Taylor, Andrea (2013). Solicitations in GP, Nurse and Pharmacist Prescriber Consultations: An observational study. Journal of Family Practice
  • Britten, N., Riley, R., & Morgan, M (2010). Resisting psychotropic medicines: a synthesis of qualitative studies of medicine - taking. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 16: 207-218
  • Riley, R., Henwood, I., & Whitaker, A (2009). A Qualitative Process and Outcome Evaluation into the Closure of Watcombe Hall: a Rehabilitation Unit.  Report to Devon Partnership NHS Trust: A Working Paper
  • Blake Stevenson Research Consultancy (2005).  Co-author. Young Homeless People’s Perceptions of their Own Health and their Use of, and Access to, Health Promotion Services.  Report to NHS Health Scotland
  • Riley, R (2004) Violence Against Homeless Women Living in Temporary Accommodation in Edinburgh: A Pilot Study.  The Ark Trust: Working Paper.


  • Riley, R., Platt, J & Weiss, M (2010).  GP and nurse prescriber responses to patient cues and concerns. European Association for Communication in Healthcare (EACH), Verona, 2010
  • Poster: Riley, R., Griffiths, F., & Lloyd, K (2007).  Barriers to the Uptake of Lifestyle Interventions in People with a Serious Mental Illness (BLIS).  Mental Health Research Network Conference, Bristol, 2007



Bristol Medical School (PHS)

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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