Institute of Health & Society

Staff Profile

Professor Richard Thomson

Strategic Research Adviser



Richard Thomson's research interests are in shared decision making, patient and public involvement, quality of care, and stroke epidemiology and prevention.

Roles and Responsibilities

I am Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health in the Institute of Health and Society and previously the Dean of Patient and Public Engagement for the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

I led the Decision Making and Organisation of Care (DMOC) research group in the IHS until 2018.


BA (Physiology)1979, Oxford University
BM BCh, 1982, Oxford University
Doctor of Medicine, 1990, University of Newcastle upon Tyne 1990
Thesis : The Hepatic Effects of Ketoconazole
MRCP, 1984, Edinburgh
FRCP, 1996, London
MFPHM, 1990
FFPHM, 1996
Accreditation/CCST in Public Health Medicine, November 1992

Previous Positions

1990 - 1992 Director, Service Quality and Standards,Northern Regional Health Authority
1992 Director, Health Strategy, Northern Regional Health Authority
1990 - 1992 Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Northern Regional Health Authority
1992– 1999 Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology and Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Newcastle Medical School

1996 – 2007 Director, UK Quality Indicator Project (UK QIP)
2004 – 2007 Secondment to National Patient Safety Agency as Director of Epidemiology and Research (Executive Director of NPSA)


Member of Steering Committee of International Patient Decision Aids Standards (IPDAS) collaboration 2003-
Member of Institute for Learning & Teaching in Higher Education

Informal Interests

Live music, fishing, cinema and theatre


Research Interests

My main research interests are in risk communication and shared decision making, with particular interests in the importance of context and the challenges of implementation

Other Expertise

I have undertaken research in a range of areas relevant to quality of health care and stroke prevention including quality indicators, guidelines and atrial fibrillation

Current Work

My programme of research includes innovative work in developing and evaluating shared decision making and risk communication. This began with work in stroke prevention and atrial fibrillation, but now extends much more widely (e.g. pain relief and labour, caesarean section, acute stroke care, squint in children, implantable cardioverter defibrillators).

This programme includes collaboration with clinical colleagues across the Faculty of Medical Sciences in Newcastle, in particular with obstetrics, fetal medicine, urology, ophthalmology, care of the elderly, cardiology and ENT. It includes international collaboration as a member of the Steering Group for the International Patient Decision Aids Standards (IPDAS) Collaboration. I recently co-led an international group to develop reporting guidelines for evaluations of patient decision aids

Research Roles

I led the Decision Making and Organisation of Care Research Group until 2018

Esteem Indicators

I have delivered multiple plenary and keynote conference addresses, and invited seminars. I am a founding Associate Editor of Quality and Safety in Health Care and wasa Member of the WHO World Health Alliance Steering Group developing an International Classification for Patient Safety (ICPS). I was invited as an expert witness to the House of Commons Select Committee Enquiry into Patient Safety (

I am on the editorial board of BMC Research Methodology.

I was a member of the NICE guidelines development group for Patient Experience in Adult Services and am currently a member of the GDG for Shared Decision Making


My research is funded a number of agencies, especially the NIHR, having been co-applicant on three funded programme grants on 1) acute stroke care, with a personal emphasis on decision making in thrombolysis and 2) patient and public engagement in safety improvement (with colleagues in Bradford, York and Leeds) and 3) Facilitating informed decision-making in haemato-oncology .


My main teaching commitments are to lead a module on Quality in Health Care on the MPH/MSc programme and contributing to the development and delivery of a spiral curriculum on the undergraduate medical curriculum on shared decision making