Professor Emeritus Nigel Mathers BSc. MBChB. MD. PhD. FRCGP. DCH. Dip Ed.

Professor of Primary Medical Care and Head of Academic Unit of Primary Medical Care to January 2017

Nigel Mathers

Academic Unit of Primary Medical Care
Samuel Fox House
Northern General Hospital
Herries Road
S5 7AU

Tel:  0114 222 200
Fax: 0114  222 2199


After qualifying MBChB from Sheffield in 1979, Nigel Mathers did his MD in neonatal paediatrics before entering General Practice in 1987. He took up a Principal post as a single-handed GP in a deprived, inner city area of Sheffield, building up the Practice to a four GP partnership.  After retiring from the Practice, he has worked at a Dykes Hall Medical Centre for the past two years. He became Head of the Academic Unit of Primary Medical Care (formerly the Institute of General Practice and Primary Care) in 1997.

In 1993 he completed his PhD Thesis on "Heartsink" patients in general practice. Since 1997, he has led a number of European grants to: develop primary care interprofessional learning in the UK, Belgium, Italy and Spain (The LOTUS project); develop online continuing professional development for health and social care practitioners (HEALTHFACIL); develop the use of motivational skills in health and social care to support behavioural change (MOTIVATE); and investigate the impact of different treatment modalities on the children of heroin addicts in England, Spain and Switzerland (CASE).

Research Interests

Nigel´s current research interests focus on shared decision making; colorectal cancer screening; prevention of diabetes, management of long term conditions and translational research. He has also conducted research studies in the doctor-patient relationship and medically unexplained symptoms (somatisation); motivational practice; educational innovations in multi-disciplinary, practice-based education; substance misuse; postnatal depression; clinical trials in general practice; and transcultural primary care research.

He has established research collaborations with the Universities of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur and Fu-Jen Catholic University in Taiwan as well as the Universities of Leuven and Liege in Belgium and Jagellonian University, Krakow, Poland.

Activities and Distinctions

  • Currently Honorary Secretary Elect of the Royal College of General Practitioners, 2013 - date
  • Vice-Chair Elect of the Royal College of General Practitioners 2010 - 2013
  • Chair of the RCGP Clinical Innovation and Research Centre from 2006-2009.
  • Chair of Research, Royal College of General Practitioners - 2003-2006
  • Regional Chair of the Trent Focus - 1998-2006
  • Chair of the Sheffield Health and Social Research Consortium Board - 2004–2006
  • Nigel has given invited lectures in Italy, Spain, France, Poland, Denmark, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia and Taiwan in addition to numerous national and regional invitations.
  • Editor in Chief of the European Textbook of Family Medicine (2006) which contains contributions from over 70 authors from 13 different European countries.
  • Substantive contributions to the new edition of the standard textbook `Research into Practice´ (2004).
  • Nigel has been first supervisor to 18 successful higher degree students (of whom five now have professorial chairs) and is currently supervisor to three more.
  • He has also acted as an external examiner to the Universities of Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Publications (recent)

Research Excellence framework 2014: Returned as part of the primary care return, UoA2 under the umbrella of the School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield.
In our Unit of Assessment (UoA2) the proportion of outputs which were top-rated at 4* have almost doubled since the last assessment (from 20% in 2008 to 38% in 2014). Comparison of these 4* results with other Russell Group universities has us in 3rd position with Liverpool and Nottingham.

RAE 2008. I was returned as part of a composite submission to the Health Services Research Panel (UoA7) with the following result 4* 20%, 3* 35%, 2* 35%, 1* 10%.


Mathers N, Sullivan R, Dilon A, Rafi I and Bell A. is dead, long live Ed. BJGP. In Press.

Mathers N and Bansal A. Patient centred care in a multicultural world. Ed. Family Medicine and Community Health Special Issue. In Press

Mathers N. The challenges of cross-cultural research and teaching in primary care. Family Medicine and Community Health, 2016; 4(2) 2-4. Doi:

Mathers N. Compassion and the science of kindness: The Harvard Davis Lecture 2015. BJGP, 2016 Jul; 66 (648): e525-e527.

Mathers N. GP Forward View – a new Charter for General Practice. BJGP, October 2016; IN PRESS

Huang YC, Mathers N, Chia SL, Shiu NM, Kao SC. An evaluation of a screening programme for immigrant women to Taiwan. Family Medicine and Community Health, 2016; 4(2):5-15. Doi: 10.15212/FMCH.2015.0149

Thomas S, Jenkins R, Burch T, Nasir LC, Fisher B, Giotaka G, Gnani S, Hertel L, Marks M, Mathers N, Millington-Sanders C, Morris D, Ruprah-Shah B, Stange K, Thomas P, White R and Wright F. Promoting Mental Health and Preventing Mental Illness in General Practice. London Journal of Primary Care; February 2016; 8(1) p 3-9. Doi: 10.1080/17571472. 2015.1135659. Accessed online 3 March 2016.

Rafi I, Sullivan R and Mathers N. The Accessible Information Standard: action and reaction. BJGP, 66 (643) 64-65. Doi:10.3399/bjgp16X683545

Mathers N, Paynton D. Rhetoric and Reality in Person-centred Care. Editorial, BJGP 2016; 66 (642): 12 -13 .


Rafi I, Sullivan R and Mathers N. The Accessible Information Standard: action and reaction. BJGP, 66 (643) 64-65. Doi:10.3399/bjgp16X683545 Published 1 February 2016

Mathers N and Rafi I. The Role of The Royal College of General Practitioners (UK) in Developing Research Capacity and Capability in Primary Care. The World Book of Family Medicine, European Edition. Wonca Europe, Istanbul, 2015. P239-240.

Seymour J, Rietjens J, Bruinsma D, Deliens L, Sterckx S, Mortier F, Van Der Heide A and Mathers N. Palliative sedation: Improvement of guidelines necessary but not sufficient: A reply. Palliative Medicine, 2015; 29(5): 481. Doi:10.1177/0269216315570414.

Mathers N and Rymer J. Mandatory reporting of female genital mutilation by healthcare professionals. Editorial, BJGP; June 2015 p282-283. Doi 10.3399/bjgp15X685141.

Winterbottom AE, Gavaruzzi T, Mooney A, Wilkie M, Davies SJ, Crane D, Baxter PD, Meads DM, Mathers N, Bekker HL. Patient acceptability of the Yorkshire Dialysis Decision Aid (YoDDA) Booklet: a prospective non-randomised comparison study across six predialysis services. Peritoneal Dialysis International. 2015. Accessed 26 May 2016.

Twohig H, Mitchell C, Mallen C, Adebajo A and Mathers N. Letter in response to "Stiffness is more than just duration and severity: a qualitative exploration in people with rheumatoid arthritis" (Halls, et al., 54 (4): 615-622 doi:10.1093/rheumatology/keu379 ). J of Hip Preservation Surgery. Published 6 May 2015.

Twohig H, Mitchell C, Mallen C, Adebajo A, Mathers N. "I suddenly felt I'd aged": A qualitative study of patient experiences of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). Patient Edu Couns. 15 January 2015; doi:10.1016/j.pec.2014.12.013. Accessed 2 March 2015

Ko YL, Wambach K, Mathers N, Huang YC. A Comparison of Taiwanese and American Breastfeeding Mothers’ Self-reported Problems at Three Weeks Postpartum. Fu Jen Journal of Medicine.


Seale C, Raus K, Bruinsma S, van der heide A, Sterckx S, Mortier F, Payne S, Mathers N and Rietjens J. The language of sedation in end-of-life-care: the ethical reasoning of care providers in three countries. Health. DOI: 10.1177/1363459314555377. Online: htpp://

Ng CJ, Mathers N, Bradley A, Colwell B. A combined framework approach to developing a patient decision aid: the PANDAs model. BMC Health Services Research. Biomed Central. 2014; 14(1):503)

Thompson J, Coleman R, Colwell B, Freeman J, Greenfield D, Holmes K, Mathers N, Reed M. Preparing breast cancer patients for survivorship (PREP) - a pilot study of a patient-centred supportive group visit intervention. European Journal of Oncology Nursing. 11/2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.ejon.2013.10.004.

Huang YC and Mathers N. A Comparison of Taiwanese and American Breastfeeding Mothers’ Self-reported Problems at Three Weeks Postpartum. Maternal and Child Health (Published, 11/2014 Fu-Jen University Journal (in Chinese and English)

Mathers N. James Mackenzie Lecture 2013: the Tao of family medicine. BJGP, 2014; 64(627): e675-e677. DOI: 10.3399/bjgp14X682021.

Mathers N and Huang YC. The future of general practice in China: from barefoot doctors to GPs. Ed. BJGP, June 2014; 270. Doi:10.3399/bjgp14x679933.

Seymour J, Rietjens J, Bruinsma S, Deliens L, Sterckx S, Mortier F, Brown J, Mathers N, van der Deide A. Continuous sedation until death for cancer patients: a qualitative interview study of physicians’ and nurses’ practice in three European countries. Palliative Medicine; July 2014, doi: 10.1177/0269216314543319

Brown I, Bradley A, Ng C, Colwell B, Mathers N. Investigating active ingredients in a complex intervention: a nested study within the Patient and Decision Aids (PANDAs) randomised controlled trial for people with type 2 diabetes. BMC Research Notes. 2014;7(1):347, PubMed PMID. Doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-347.

Anquinet L, Reitjens JA, Mathers N. Seymour J, Van der Heide A, Deliens L. Descriptions by general practitioners and nurses of their collaboration in continuous sedation until death at home. In-depth qualitative interviews in three European countries. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. ]. PII: S0885-3924(14)00291-7 doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2014.05.012

Mathers N and Ng CJ. Delivery of patient centred care in routine practice requires a whole system change. BMJ 2014;348:g2009. doi: 10.1136/bmj.g2009


Parmenter J, Mitchell C, Keen J, Oliver P, Rowse G, Neligan I ,Keil C, Mathers N. Predicting bio-psychosocial outcomes for heroin users in primary care treatment: a prospective longitudinal cohort study. BJGP, 2013; 63(612):365-366.

Mathers N and Sillitoe L. Don’t shoot the messenger: the problem of whistleblowing in general practice. Debate and Analysis. BJGP, 2013.


Smithson WH, Hukin D, Colwell B and Mathers N. Developing a method to identify medicines non-adherence in a community sample of adults with epilepsy. Epilepsy and Behaviour, 2012; 24: 49-53. Doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2012.02.015.

Colwell B, Mathers N, Bradley A, Ng C-J. Does a PDA improve knowledge about treatment choices for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus when making decisions about starting insulin? Quantitative analysis from the PANDAs study. DIABETOLOGIA. 54: S406-S406. Sep 2011 (Conference).

Howe A, Mathers N, Steel N. ‘Doing’ quality: an agenda for GP leadership to improve patient care. Quality in Primary Care. 2012; 20(5):313-315.

Mathers N, Ng CJ, Campbell M, Colwell B, Brown I and Bradley A. Clinical effectiveness of a patient decision aid to improve decision quality and glycaemic control in people with diabetes making treatment choices – a cluster randomised controlled trial (PANDAs) in General Practice. BMJ Open 2012; 2(6).

Thompson J, Coleman R, Colwell B, Freeman J, Greenfield D, Holmes K, Mathers N, Reed M. Levels of distress in breast cancer survivor approaching discharge from routine hospital follow-up. Psycho-Oncology 2012; doi: 10.1002pon.3229.

Mathers N and Patel V. Crystal therapy for all? BJGP, 2013; 63(606): e85–e87. doi: 10.3399/bjgp13X660968

Mathers N and Thomas M. Integration of Care: a bridge too far. (Ed) BJGP 2012; 402-403. Doi:10.3399/bjgp12X653462.

Khoo EM, Mathers NJ, McCarthy SA and Low WY. , Somatisation disorder and its associated factors in multiethnic primary care clinic attenders. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 2012; 19: 165-173. doi: 10.1007s-12529-011-9164-7.

Smithson WH, Hukin D, Colwell B and Mathers N. Developing a method to identify medicines non-adherence in a community sample of adults with epilepsy. Epilepsy and Behaviour, 2012; 24: 49-53. Doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2012.02.015.

Colwell, B, Mathers N, Ng, CJ, Bradley A. Improving recruitment to primary care trials: some lessons from the use of modern marketing techniques. Debate and Analysis Paper BJGP. September 2012 62(602) 496-498. Doi: 10.3399/bjgp12X654759.

Croot E, Grant G, Mathers N, Cooper C. Coping strategies used by Pakistani parents living in the United Kingdom and caring for a severely disabled child". Disability and Rehabilitation January 2012, DOI: 10.3109/09638288.2011.650310.

Mathers N. From Cottage Industry to Post Industrial care. Debate and analysis paper. BJGP 62: (599): 326-8. Doi: 10.3399/bjgp12x649304.


Mathers N and Lester H. From cottage industry to post-industrial care? The King’s Fund report on quality in general practice. (Editorial) BJGP, 2011 p602.

Pirie Z, Fox N, Mathers N. Delivering shiatsu in a primary care setting: Benefits and challenges. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice., 2011. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2011.07.001 Accessed 16 August 2011.

Mathers N. The Science of General Practice. A keynote address to the Wonca Europe Conference in Warsaw, Poland, September 2011
European Journal of General Practice Dec 2011, 17(4): 241-244.

Mitchell C, Dwyer R, Hagan T and Mathers N. Impact of the QOF and the NICE guideline in the diagnosis and management of depression. BJGP, 2011; 61:343-344. DOI:10.3399/bjgp11X572472, [Reprinted as exemplar of Primary Care Qualitative Research for Series on Critical Appraisal]

Mathers N and Harnden A. Delivery of high quality child health care in General Practice. BJGP 2011; Editorial 61(584): p165-166. DOI: 10.3399/bjgp11X561104.


Tomasz Tomasik, Jacek Jozwiak, Adam Windak, Katarzyna Rygiel, Miroslaw Mastej, W. Henry Smithson, Nigel Mathers, Maciej Tomaszewski, Bernhard M. Kaess, Andrzej Tykarski, Ewa Konduracka, Wladyslaw Grzeszczak, Witold Lukas. Prevention of coronary heart disease in primary medical care in Poland: results from the LIPIDOGRAM study. European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation 2010; 18(2) 287-296.

Huang YC and Mathers N. A comparative study of traditional postpartum practices and rituals in the UK and Taiwan. Diversity in Health and Care, 2010; 7:239-47.

Lin CJ, Hsu CH, Li TC, Mathers N and Huang YC. Measuring professional competency of public health nurses: development of a scale and psychometric evaluation. Journal of Clinical Nursing, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2009.03149.

Mathers N and Mitchell C. Are the gates to be thrown open? Editorial. BJGP 2010; 60(574):217-218. Doi:10.3399/bjgp09X454115.

Oliver P, Keen J, Rowse G, Ewins E, Griffiths L and Mathers N. The effect of time spent in treatment and dropout status on rates of convictions, cautions and imprisonment over 5 years in a primary care-led methadone maintenance service. Addiction, 2010; 105:732-739. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02856.x


Mathers N, Perrin N and Watt G (2009) Towards consensus for best practice: the use of patient records for research in general practice. Wellcome Trust. Full report can be accessed at

Mathers N. (2009) Research in general practice: Come on in, the water is lovely. Editorial. Prescriber 20(22); 66-7.

Mathers N, Perrin N and Watt G. (2009) Editorial: Using patient records from general practice for research. Informatics for Primary Care, 17:137-9.

Mathers N, Howe A and Field S. (2009) Clinical research by GPs in their own practice. BJGP (2008); 59(561):296-297. doi: 10.3399/bjgp09X420464.


Barclay C and Mathers N. Diabetes prevention. (Letter) British Journal of General Practice, 2008; 58(557):887. Doi: 10.3399/bjgp08X376249.

Mathers N, Perrin N and Watt G (2008) Towards consensus for best practice: the use of patient records for research in general practice. British Journal of General Practice. Nov 2008 p814-815. DOI:10.3399/bjgp08X342750. DOI: 10.3399/bjgp08X342769

Huang YC and Mathers NJ. (2008). Postnatal depression and the experience of South Asian marriage migrant women in Taiwan: Survey and semi-structured interview study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 45:924-931. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2007.02.006

Horspool MJ, Seivewright N, Armitage CJ and Mathers N. (2008). Post-treatment outcomes of buprenorphine detoxification in community settings: A systematic review. European Addiction Research, 14: 179-185. DOI: 0.1159/000141641.

Barclay C, Procter KL, Glendenning R, Marsh P, Freeman J, Mathers N. (2008) Can type-2 diabetes be prevented in UK general practice? A lifestyle change feasibility study [ISAIAH]. British Journal of General Practice, 58 (550): 541-547. DOI: 10.3399/bjgp08X319701.

Owen JM, Higginbottom GMA, Mathers N, Marsh P and Kirkham M. Reflections on ethnicity, policy and teenage pregnancy in England (2008). Social Policy and Society 7(3): pp293-305.

Croot E.J, Grant G, Cooper C.L, Mathers N. Perceptions of the causes of  childhood disability amongst Pakistani families living in the UK. Health and Social Care in the Community. 2008 Dec;(16)6:606-13.

Higginbottom GMA, Serrant-Green L, Mathers NJ, Marsh P, Kirkham M, Owen JM. (2008) ‘I didn’t do it cos I wanted a baby’. Sexual decision making, roles and choices in relation to early parenthood amongst black and minority ethnic young parents in England. Diversity in Health and Social Care, 5(2): 89-99.