Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
We're launching a new website soon and would love your feedback. See the new design
Health Sciences
(023) 8120 8644

Dr Lisa Roberts PhD FCSP

Associate Professor and Consultant physiotherapist

Dr Lisa Roberts's photo

Dr Lisa Roberts has a joint appointment as an Associate Professor at the University of Southampton and Consultant Physiotherapist at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. She currently holds a National Institute for Health Research Senior Clinical Lectureship (2013-19). The focus of her academic and clinical work is promoting musculoskeletal health and her research priorities include: communication and decision-making; improving patient experience; improving the health of people with Parkinson’s (through dance); and promoting independence using web-based technologies for people with back pain.

Clinical practice involves not only maximising the outcome, but also ensuring that every patient has a positive experience.

Research interests

  • Communication and clinical decision-making during consultations
  • Internet interventions for people with low back pain
  • Improving non-specific treatment effects in consultations
  • Improving the health and well-being of NHS staff
  • Developmental dysplasia of the hip

Current research projects

Improving communication skills and consultations for people with back pain

This programme of work has included expectations, opening encounters, shared decision-making, empathy, interruptions and perceptions of diagnosis.

Non-specific Mechanisms in Orthodox and CAM management of back pain (MOCAM).

The aim of this observational cohort study, funded by Arthritis Research UK, is to identify the most powerful "non-specific" components of treatments for back pain: patients, practitioners, and their interactions in NHS and private sector osteopathy, physiotherapy and acupuncture. (Co-applicant and physiotherapy lead).

Internet intervention for low back pain in primary care.

The aim of this feasibility 3-arm study, funded by NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme, is to develop a fully interactive, highly tailored Internet self-management intervention for people with back pain and explore the feasibility of delivering: 1) usual GP care; 2) the intervention + usual GP care; 3) the intervention with brief telephone support from a physiotherapist + usual GP care. (Co-applicant, developing content for website and supporting new principal investigator.)

Delayed surgical intervention in developmental dysplasia of the hip.

The aim of this national study, funded by NIHR HTA is to answer the question: What is the clinical and cost effectiveness of delayed compared to early surgery for developmental dysplasia of the hip in children with either failed conservative management or late diagnosis? (Co-applicant: Leading qualitative study and line managing post-doctoral research fellow.)

NHS Healthy workforce project: self-referral to musculoskeletal physiotherapy service

I am currently leading a major initiative, funded by NHS-England, to develop and deliver a self-referral scheme for the 10 000 NHS staff at University Hospital Southampton, to be able to access musculoskeletal physiotherapy. Our aim is to provide a high-quality, convenient service to improve the health of staff.

Research group

Active Living for Health

Research theme

Active Living

Research project(s)

Exploring communication and clinical decision-making in consultations between physiotherapists and people with back pain

This research on communication and clinical decision-making follows patients experiencing back pain from before the initial assessment, through all treatment sessions, to discharge.

Sort via:TypeorYear


Book Chapters





  • Communication skills
  • Musculoskeletal (spinal, upper limb, TMJ)
  • Back pain (for BM4 programme)
  • Clinical effectiveness
  • Clinical academic careers
  • Ethics and professional practice
  • Acupuncture
  • Supervised 8 doctoral students, including PhD, DClinP and Ed Doc (5 to completion; 3 current) and 15 Masters’ students (1 MPhil and 10 MSc to completion; 1 MRes and 3 MSc current).
  • Significant outreach work: sharing aspects of healthcare with various community groups, including promoting science, healthcare and disability awareness to children’s groups (Brownies, Guides) and active living and musculoskeletal health to senior citizens, self-help groups and the University’s International Women’s Club.





Alongside her academic role as an Associate Professor, Lisa is a Consultant Physiotherapist at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

Her clinical leadership role focuses on:

• Treating patients with complex musculoskeletal presentations.

• Leading the clinical effectiveness agenda for 8 professions (pharmacy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, audiology, medical physics, dietetics, nutrition, speech and language therapy), facilitating clinicians to undertake clinical audit, research and service improvements, apply for higher degrees and clinical academic fellowships, and disseminate their work nationally and internationally.

• Leading an initiative, working with the Medical Research Centre and Occupational Health team, to implement a self-referral scheme for NHS staff to be able to access musculoskeletal physiotherapy. This work aims to reduce short-term sickness absence in the Trust due to musculoskeletal conditions and is currently in progress.

NHS outcomes have included:

• Leading the therapy services department to win the 2012 Chartered Society of Physiotherapy award for "demonstrating the impact of outcomes on patient care"

• Winning a Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award in 2008 from the University of Southampton for an innovation to support clinicians to undertake scholarly activities such as research, audits and improvement initiatives and disseminate them nationally and internationally

• Leading a quality improvement initiative in the musculoskeletal outpatient service that resulted in improved patient experience, 6 per cent decrease in non-attendance and a reduction in waiting times by 12 weeks. This work was awarded an Arthritis Research UK silver medal.


Advisory group membership:

• President of the Society for Back Pain Research (2014-16)

• Member of the UK Spine Societies Board (2014-16)

• Member of British Orthopaedic Association Board of Specialist Societies (2014-16)

• Strategy Committee member of the Council for AHP Research (2014 – present)

• Physiotherapy Consultants’ group (2010 – present)

• National Institute for Health Research mentor for 3 clinical academics on the NIHR pathway

• Lisa is an NIHR Advocate for Physiotherapy – one of a team of passionate and proactive researchers working both individually and as a group to act as ambassadors for health research careers, promoting the NIHR training and career opportunities and supporting and advocating for non-medical professions and for individuals who wish to begin or continue a research career. See

• Research priorities group for NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research Board

• Vice-chair of BackCare Southampton Branch (1990 – present)

• Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (member 1989 – 2013: fellow 2013–present)

• Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (formerly the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education) (2003-present)

Previous significant roles:

Arthritis Research UK Educational Fellowship panel (2011-13), awarding grants for musculoskeletal educational research

BackCare (Trustee 1995-2014; Research Committee 1999–2011, including Chair); Education Committee – Chair 1997-2001)

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy: Updating the standards of physiotherapy practice (2011-12)

Dr Lisa Roberts
University of Southampton Health Sciences Building 45 Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number : SGH/AA101 /MP11

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings