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Health Sciences
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Dr Joanne Turnbull BSc; MSc; PhD

Lecturer in Health Services Research

Dr Joanne Turnbull's photo

Dr Joanne Turnbull is a Lecturer within Health Sciences, University of Southampton. Joanne’s research focuses on the organisation and delivery of emergency and urgent health care services and the experience of care by patients, their families and carers. I have a particular interest in the use of mixed methods and qualitative methods as applied to these health care settings.

The focus of my research is to better understand patient access to services and the ways in which services are configured to inform the provision of more responsive urgent and emergency care.

Joanne’s work has focused on designing and undertaking mixed methods and qualitative research that has focused the organisation and delivery of urgent health care services (out-of-hours general practice, NHS 111, NHS 111 Online, prehospital (paramedic and ambulance services) and emergency care in acute hospitals. Joanne is particularly interested in service user experiences (geographical access, telephone access, help-seeking behaviour), the organization and delivery of urgent and emergency care (work, workforce) and the use of technologies in health care delivery (computer decision support systems). Joanne’s work has mainly been funded by the NIHR Health Services & Delivery Programme.

Research interests

  • Organisation and delivery of emergency and urgent care services

  • Organisation of work and workforce in urgent care
Access to emergency and urgent care, including geographical access, telephone access and patient help-seeking 

  • New technologies such as computer decision support systems that underpin NHS 111 and NHS 111 Online

  • Ethnographic approaches as applied to health services research
  • Mixed methods research as applied to health services research

PhD supervision

  • Els Freshwater – Evaluation of a trauma unit bypass tool in predicting major trauma
  • Laszlo Penzes - Understanding staff experiences of sudden death in the Emergency Department
  • Mike Clancy – The ‘work’ of service users when attending the Emergency Department
  • Meshary Bin Hotan - Telephone Assisted Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in Saudi Arabia
    Liz Paxman – The role of military Advanced Practitioners in deployed pre-hospital emergency care operations
  • Chukwuma Anyigor – Nurses understanding of patient culture and their care of older people in hospital in Nigeria
  • Abedellah Kasem – Patient experience if nurse telephone triage and advice in Ireland (completed 2018)

Other research projects

Ethnographic study of patient pathways and workforce implications of NHS 111 Online.


NHS 111 is an urgent care service designed to help people who need advice or care when their general practice is shut. An online (Web-based) version of NHS 111 has now been introduced across England. This online service allows patients to get medical help or advice using their smartphone or a computer. This study will evaluate this service. The study is led by Professor Catherine Pope at University of Oxford, with colleagues Joanne Turnbull and Jane Prichard at Health Sciences, University of Southampton. The study is funded by NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research Programme (number 127590).


Demand for GP and emergency care is increasing and sometimes people don't use the most suitable service for their particular health problem or are confused about what course of action to take. NHS 111 Online could help signpost people to the ‘right service’ and may provide advice that helps them do more self-care. However, some research suggests that online systems can increase demand for other health services, and online services may be more acceptable to some service users compared to others.

This research examines the impact of NHS 111 Online. We will look at the care pathways people follow after they use the online service and see if some people are less able to use this online system. We will also look at the work and staff needed to provide NHS 111 Online and we will compare our findings about the workforce to data from a similar system used in Australia to see how our service compares. We will also look at anonymised Twitter data to examines peoples’ views about NHS 111 services.

The study involves detailed ethnographic work undertaken in 8 settings (case studies). We will ask people (using interviews and surveys), and observe what patients and staff do, to understand the online service. We will visit the case studies and observe and interview staff and managers about the work. We will use a survey to ask service users and non-service users about how easy the online system is to use and what they think about using technology for their health care.

University of Southampton staff

Dr Joanne Turnbull (Health Sciences)

Research group

Health Workforce & Systems

Research theme

Health Work

Research project(s)

An evaluation of NHS Pathways in urgent care (Phase 1): Comparative study of outcome - Dormant

This study is investigating the impact of introducing NHS Pathways in an Ambulance setting for the management of out-of-hours calls

Same technology, different settings

A multidisciplinary case study of computer decision support and workforce redesign. A unique contribution to the understanding of how health technologies are deployed in the NHS.

The work, workforce, technology and organisational implications of 111

Examining the everyday work and practice, the experience and skills of the workforce, the technologies brought into use, and organizational environment, required to deliver the national ‘111’ single point of access service.

A study of sense-making strategies and help-seeking behaviours associated with the use and provision of urgent care services

Urgent care reform has led to the development of multiple services (e.g. out-of-hours, walk-in centres, NHS 111) designed to improve access and manage rising service demand. Policy has sought to influence patient behaviour and choice of service in this complex urgent care landscape. Guiding patients to ‘get the right advice in the right place, first time', reducing unnecessary emergency department attendances by providing more responsive urgent care services, and providing better support for people to self-care has increasingly been the focus of national and local health policy. However, effective service provision requires a much deeper understanding of the factors that influence patients’ help-seeking and choices.

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  • Programme lead for MRes Clinical and Health Research
  • Module Lead for MRES Qualitative Design and Methods
  • Undergraduate and Post-graduate lecturing on research design and methods
  • Research supervision
Dr Joanne Turnbull
University of Southampton Health Sciences Building 67 Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number : 67/Level 3

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