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The University of Southampton

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

Professor of Medical Sociology & Healthcare Interaction, NIHR Fellow

Professor Geraldine Leydon's photo
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Geraldine Leydon is Professor of Medical Sociology & Healthcare Interaction within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

Professor Leydon trained in sociology as applied to health at Lancaster University (BA), Goldsmiths College (MA), and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (PhD, Dip.PH). Considerable experience in leading qualitative programmes of work in a range of health service settings, with a particular focus on issues around lay-expert communication in health.


BA, Politics and Sociology, Lancaster University
MA, Sociology and Research Methods Goldsmiths College, University of London
PhD, Conversation Analytic Study of Outpatient Oncology Consultations, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London (supervised by Dr Judith Green, LSHTM and Professor Emeritus David Silverman, Goldsmiths’ College; Examined by Professor Paul Drew, York University, and Professor Christian Heath, Kings College London)
Dip Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London

Appointments held

Professor of Medical Sociology & Healthcare Interaction, Primary Care and Population Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton.

Associate Professor in Health Research and 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 Health Research and 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, Primary Medical Care, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton

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

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

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

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

Research interests

Communication and Language in Medicine

A great deal of Professor Leydon's work is interested in how health care professionals across a range of settings deliver health services and how patients receive that care.

Talk really matters and communication is at the centre of all health care. Another group of researchers interested in Health Literacy links in with Professor Leydon's interests more broadly with communication patterns and its impact on outcome (e.g. satisfaction, adherence, acceptance/resistence, efficiency).

Professor Leydon's training is in a sociological approach for understanding communication patterns known as Conversation Analysis, and in health services research methods more generally.

Psycho-social oncology – and end of life care

A great deal of Professor Leydon's work has focussed on understanding the psycho-social needs, help seeking behaviour, self-management strategies of people affected by cancer and those at end of life. Dr Leydon is  particularly interested in the communicative dilemmas that surround transparency about life expectancy/prognosis.

More recently Professor Leydon worked with Professor George Lewith, Dr Caroline Eyles and Mr Sam Watts to test out the feasibility and acceptability of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for patients with cancer (including prostate and breast).

Nested Qualitative Research

Professor Leydon has led numerous work packages as part of broader programmes of work, most notably with Professor Paul Little and his programme of work on minor illness, and Professor Paul Roderick and his work on kidney disease. 

Professor Leydon is interested in using qualitative methods to understand complex interventions and to help fine tune health service innovations to enhance their integration in routine practice and enhance their effectiveness.

Other broader health focussed interests relate to mental health and alcohol use, most notably collaborating with Professors Michael Moore, Paul Roderick and Tony Kendrick.


Please visit the Primary Care  website.


Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education

Affiliate Department(s)

Primary Care Research group, Population Health Sciences Research group

Research project(s)

ANCAP - Antibiotic Negotiations Conversation Analytic Project

Many patients in primary care are being prescribed antibiotics to treat mild infections such as colds, earaches and sore throats. Many of these are viral rather than bacterial infections that get better on their own and which can be treated with self-care (such as rest, fluids and mild pain killers).


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

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

Patients are increasingly expected to manage their health outside of medical consultations.

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.

PROstate ACTIVE Surveillance support

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

There is considerable concern about increasing antidepressant use in England. GPs are giving out more than 50 million prescriptions a year, to more than 1 in 10 adults.

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

This study is exploring people’s experience of managing chronic kidney disease (CKD) - a common long-term condition affecting about a third of older people in the UK.

OPEN: Out of Hours Prescribing: Enhancing Communication

Internal responsibilities

Responsible for running research in health services research within Primary Care and Population Sciences.
Member of Senate for PCPS.
Co-founder/committee member of 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.
Member of Wessex Alcohol Research Collaborative (WARC) led by Dr Julia Sinclair.
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.
External lectures for Institute of Cancer Resarch
Director of Board and Trustee for Wessex Cancer Trust, Hampshire
Content Related and Linguistic Editor for Qualitative Sociology Review

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Postgraduate Supervision


Rosie Stanford

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

Other current duties

4th Year Medical BMedSci research projects.

Qualitative Research Methods – ad hoc lectures for Masters in Research (MRes), and for PCPS staff and students.

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

Past teaching

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

Professor Geraldine Leydon
Tel: 023 8059 1765

Room Number: 9590 AHC/115/S2

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