I qualified with a Sociology degree from Reading university in 1968. I then worked as a Mental Welfare Officer for Cheshire County Council in Stalybridge. I qualified as a social worker at Manchester University. I have over 40 years practice and research experience. In addition, I was a non-executive Director of an NHS Trust (Mental Health Services Salford) and a social services manager in Manchester from 1976-1984.
I have an established international research reputation that spans the social care field and mental health. I was the first Professor of Psychiatric Social Work in the UK and the first social worker to be Head of an academic department of Psychiatry in the UK in Manchester (School of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences). I was the first Professor of Social Work at the Institute of Psychiatry in London from 1999 until 2006 when I relocated to Swansea University.
I have worked with, researched and published about various groups including children, people with learning disability, adults and children with mental health problems and older people with and without mental health problems. I am well used to bringing a social care perspective into health settings, and my quantitative research skills enable me to appraise almost all statistical methods and results reported in research papers and grant submissions. I have also trained in systematic review methods (see later) and in the use of qualitative research methods and proprietor packages such as Nvivo.
I provide external expert peer review for research grant applications to the ESRC and have held two ESRC grants, one on urban regeneration and mental health and the other on a Chinese translation of our latest social inclusion measure.
I review academic research papers for Psychiatric Services, Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, the British Journal of Psychiatry, Health and Social Care in the Community, the British Journal of Social Work, the Social Work Journal, Social Work and Social Science Review and a number of health service and policy journals.
I received my first research grant in 1984 from the Department of Health in England, and I have been involved in large scale funded research projects ever since. One of the most notable was the UK700 trial of case management. This was a collaboration between Manchester and London universities, funded by the DH (£1m+). Another was the ESRC funded project on Urban Regeneration in Manchester which was part of the ESRC Health Variations Programme.
My total income as PI or Co-I is in excess of £25m. I have developed several psychometrically robust outcome measures. The latest, a measure of social inclusion, was published last year by the NIHR HTA.
I am one of a few social scientists in the world to have a long and distinguished career working with academic and clinical psychiatrists and social workers. I have a sustained interest in multidisciplinary social work practice and research. I believe that this produces the best social care research, rather than stand alone disciplinarity favoured by some social work academics in the UK.
This interest is in no small measure due to my collaboration with Professor Sir David Goldberg and the two influential texts we co-wrote in the 1980s and 1990s ‘Mental Illness in the Community: The Pathway to Psychiatric Care’ and ‘Common Mental Disorders: a biosocial model’. It is not an exaggeration to say that the first book was a major achievement and contributed to a significant change of emphasis in clinical services in the UK and beyond, to a more primary care and community oriented practice. It influenced all the disciplines involved in mental health care. The terminology and the model espoused in the second book was also a step forward, and now those disorders of anxiety and depression and the mixture of both is widely accepted worldwide (except perhaps in the USA) as ‘common mental disorder’.
Since then I have continued international research collaborations with Dr Richard Warner in the USA, Professor Stephan Priebe (while he was in Berlin) and more recently with Dr Marcus Chiu in the Baptist University School of Social Work, in Hong Kong; I have published in peer reviewed social care and psychiatric journals with all of them. Most recently my main collaborator Dr Sherrill Evans and I have developed a working relationship with Robert Bland Professor of Social Work at the University of Queensland , providing expert input to a programme of post graduate research methods training, for social work PhD students in Australian Universities.
My personal research skills set include both qualitative and quantitative research methods (Nvivo; SPSS; Excel; STATA (basic); descriptive statistics, multi-variate statistics (including regression and cluster analysis, and multi level modelling (basic). I have undertaken systematic reviews and Cochrane review training with the Schizophrenia group in Oxford.