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Professor Geraldine Leydon BA, MA, PhD, Dip. PH

Professor in Primary Care

Professor Geraldine Leydon's photo
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Geraldine Leydon is Professor in Primary Care within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

The longer I am in research the more convinced I am that it is imperative we pay adequate scientific attention to understanding how people communicate with one another. Communication practices can enhance or diminish the patient and practitioner experience in routine healthcare and the effectiveness of intervention studies, especially those that involve human support.

Geraldine trained in Medical Sociology at Lancaster University (BA), Goldsmiths College, London (MA), and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (PhD, Dip.PH). She has specialised in leading qualitative studies and teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students qualitative methods in health.

Geraldine previously held a NIHR Post-Doctoral Fellowship. She worked with Macmillan Cancer Support to identify key communication challenges of providing telephone help. Here she collected audio recordings of calls, and interviews with call handlers and callers. Her research led to revised training, which was cascaded to all call handlers. She also previously held a Medical Research Council Health Services Research Training Fellowship at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Here she trained in a range of health services research methods and collected and analysed audio recordings of outpatient oncology consultations from which she developed and delivered communication training for Oncologists at the Institute of Cancer Research.

Appointments held

Professor in Primary Care Research, Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton.

Associate Professor in Primary Care Research & NIHR Fellowship Award Holder, Primary Care and Population Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton – associated member of Cancer and End of Life Care Group, Health Sciences, University of Southampton.

Reader in Primary Care Research & NIHR Fellowship Award Holder, Primary Care and Population Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton – associated member of Cancer and End of Life Care Group, Health Sciences, University of Southampton

Principal Research Fellow in Primary Care Research, Primary Medical Care, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton

Senior Research Fellow in Primary Care Research, Primary Medical Care, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton

Lecturer and MRC HSR Training Fellow in Health Services Research, Health Services Research Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Research Fellow in Public Health, Cancer and Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Research Assistant in Primary Care and Public Health, Academic Department of General Practice, and Population Science and Public Health, Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School.

Research interests

With expertise in qualitative research methods Geraldine has run a number of stand-alone and nested qualitative studies in a broad number of topics, including cancer /end of life, common infections, and mental health. Broadly, her work has focussed on the patient experience, as well as patient and practitioner views on how to improve the management of a range of conditions. She has used qualitative methods to optimise the design and implementation of research interventions and with an on-going interest in the ‘science of talk’ has also studied communication challenges and solutions in a range of healthcare encounters, e.g. cancer information calls, 111 advice calls, outpatient oncology and GP consultations.

Completed Research Projects

PROstate ACTIVE Surveillance support

UNderstanding medIcal and non-medical anTibiotic prescribing for rEspiratory tract infections in primary care out of hours services: a qualitative analysis (The UNITE Study)

Understanding treatment burden and enhancing capacity for older people with chronic kidney disease

ANCAP - Antibiotic Negotiations Conversation Analytic Project

HaRI: Harnessing resources from the internet to maximise outcomes from GP consultations: A qualitative study

Please visit the Primary Care  website.


Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education

Affiliate Department(s)

, Population Health Sciences Research group

Research project(s)


We are looking to investigate the usefulness of antibiotics in this age group, it follows a European wide trial that was very similar for adults. Children will be provided antibiotic or placebo and keep a symptom diary for up to 28 days. They can opt to provide a throat swab, a blood sample and have a chest x-ray.

CLASP Cancer: Life Affirming Survivorship support in Primary care

HATRIC - Herbal Alternative Treatment (Pelargonium) for lower Respiratory tract Infections with Cough in adults

Acute chest infections are common and antibiotics are often prescribed despite them having limited impact on the symptoms. Finding a safe and effective way to control the symptoms associated with a chest infection, particularly cough, could help reduce antibiotic use.

Patient-reported outcome measures for monitoring primary care patients with depression: PROMDEP randomised controlled trial.

We want to look at whether giving personal feedback to people being treated for depression might help them get better more quickly.

REDUCE (REviewing long term anti-Depressant Use by Careful monitoring in Everyday practice)

OPEN: Out of Hours Prescribing: Enhancing Communication

The overuse and misuse of antibiotics in primary care is an increasing national and global concern due to the increasing risk of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) (when bacteria becomes resistant to treatments leading to increased risks of illness lasting longer, increased symptom severity and even death).

Talking in Primary Care 2: Testing the effects of communication skills e-learning for practitioners on patients’ musculoskeletal pain and enablement (TIP2)

Internal responsibilities
  • Responsible for conducting research in health services research within Primary Care and Population Sciences.
  • Co-founder Research Education and Communication in Health (REACH), a group for information/knowledge sharing in the School of Primary Care and Population Sciences.
  • Member of Senior Management Team.
  • Organise and contribute to QualMED activities.
External responsibilities
  • Member of College of Experts for NETSCC
  • Member of NIHR College of Experts - Programme Grant Panel member
  • Peer reviewer for MRC, ESRC, Dimbleby Cancer Care, Wellcome Trust
  • Ad hoc journal reviews: BMJ, BJGP, Family Practice, SHI, SSM, EJCC, Psyho-oncology and so on.

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Book Chapter

  • Leydon, G. M., & Barnes, R. K. (2020). Conversation analysis. In C. Pope, & N. Mays (Eds.), Qualitative Research in Health Care (4th ed., pp. 135-150). Wiley-Blackwell.





Co-Module Lead (with Mrs Rachel Dewar-Haggart) of Qualitative Methods in Health for the Masters in Public Health

Postgraduate Supervision


Professor Leydon is open to enquiries from students wishing to embark on PhD study who are interested in the study of communication.

Other current duties

4th Year Medical BMedSci research projects.

Past teaching

Supervised numerous MSc student dissertations and delivered lectures in Advanced Qualitative Methods and Sociology of Health and Illness.

Communication In oncology: hope and optimism, MSc in Holistic Care for oncologists – Institute of Cancer Research, annual lecture.
A three-hour session presented by Professor Leydon and Professor Peter Salmon – hosted by ICR.

Professor Geraldine Leydon
Tel: 023 8059 1765

Room Number: 9590 AHC/115/S2

Telephone:(023) 8059 1765

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