I came to North Staffordshire in 1994 as Consultant Rheumatologist at the Haywood Hospital and Senior Lecturer, Keele University. My undergraduate and early postgraduate training was at the University of Sheffield, following which I moved to Manchester as Senior Registrar in Rheumatology. I was awarded an Arthritis Research Campaign Clinical Research Fellowship and completed my MD at the ARC Epidemiology Unit with Professor Symmons and Professor Silman in 1992. I was promoted to Professor of Community Rheumatology in 2004 and took over from Peter Croft as Director of the Centre in 2010.

Research and scholarship

My main research interests are linked with the Centre's applied research programme investigating the efficacy and clinical effectiveness of non-pharmacological treatments for musculoskeletal pain and arthritis presenting in primary care. This research has contributed to international guidelines on Osteoarthritis and Back Pain, and has been translated into national policy (Department of Health Musculoskeletal Services Framework). Evidence from our randomised trials of treatments for back pain (Hay Lancet 2005), shoulder pain (Hay Ann Rheum Dis 2003), tennis elbow (Hay BMJ 1999), and knee pain (Hay  BMJ 2006, Foster  BMJ 2008) have directly informed national guidelines (eg NICE OA Guidelines, ARMA standards of care) and informed the RCGP curriculum for Musculoskeletal General Practitioners with Special Interests (Hay et al, Rheumatology 2007).

Locally, this research has directly translated into improving healthcare outcomes by influencing a service redesign of services for back pain and for chronic pain, which reduced wait times, resulted in high patient satisfaction and reduced primary care consultation rates (Stevenson et al, Physiotherapy 2004).


I am committed to building multi-disciplinary research capacity in primary care. Through embedding doctoral training within funded research programmes my research group has demonstrated the feasibility of supporting highly competitive PhD Fellowship applications to external funders such as NIHR.

I have personally supervised 9 higher degrees (8 PhD, 2 MPhil) to completion and have 3 current PhD students.

Further information

I am Chair of Arthritis Research UK's Musculoskeletal Pain Clinical Studies Group, Board Member of the NIHR National School for Primary Care Research, Panel Member NIHR Applied Programme Grants and Panel Member (Uo2) 2014 Research Excellence Framework.


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