Professor Chris Burton

Population Health, School of Medicine and Population Health

Professor of Primary Medical Care
+44 114 222 2216

Full contact details

Professor Chris Burton
Population Health, School of Medicine and Population Health
Sam Fox House
Northern General Hospital
Herries Road
S5 7AU

I am a GP and researcher whose primary interest is in persistent physical symptoms and functional somatic disorders. I lead the research group in the Academic Unit of Primary Medical Care at the University of Sheffield.

Research interests

Persistent Physical Symptoms: this includes the current Multiple Symptoms Study3 trial and work to better understand both the mechanisms of persistent (or functional) symptoms and clinical communication about them.

Health Services Research: this typically involves analysis of large scale data to understand clinical practice (diagnosis and testing) and healthcare use (particularly of urgent and unscheduled care). I am particularly interested in examining healthcare use from the perspective of the science of complex systems.


Edited books

  • Burton C (Ed.) (2013) The ABC of Medically Unexplained Symptoms. Wiley-Blackwell. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


  • Burton C (2002) Introduction to complexity In Sweeney K & Griffiths F (Ed.) (pp. 1-18). Oxford: Radcliffe. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Fink P, Burton C, De Bie J, Söllner W & Fritzsche K () Current state of management and organisation of care, Medically Unexplained Symptoms, Somatisation and Bodily Distress (pp. 97-123). Cambridge University Press RIS download Bibtex download

Conference proceedings papers


Research group

My current PhD students (first supervisor) are Hani Al-Ghamdi (ScHARR) and Ben Jackson (AUPMC). I am keen to supervise PhD students from any relevant discipline interested in clinical communication and physical symptoms or health services research.


Bath P, Strong M, Burton C, Weich S, Alvarez Lopez M, Willkinson M, Hopfgartner F  Using Artificial Intelligence to Tackle Multiple Long-Term Conditions - Multimorbidity in South Yorkshire, NIHR £107,968 January 2021 for 12 months

Burton C, Walker T, Rosmalen JGR. ETUDE – Encompassing Training in Functional Disorders across Europe. EU Marie Curie Integrated Training Network, £265,016 January 2021 for 4 years

Jackson B, O’Hara R, Burton C. Integrating Advanced Clinical Practitioners into General Practice teams through clinical supervision: a realist evaluation. Royal College of GPs, £11,978  January 2021 for 24 months

Nagel C, Marshall M, Burton C. In-Practice Fellowship.  NIHR, £123,921 September 2020 for 30 months

Cooper C, Burton C. Supporting reach and inclusivity in research in primary care. Sheffield CCG (RCF) £19,888 October 2020 for 6 months

Chatters R, Burton C, O’Cathain A, Cooper C. Learning from COVID-19 related trial adaptations to inform efficient trial design - a sequential mixed methods study. NIHR £70,579 October 2020 for 12 months

Burton C, Dickson JM, Booth A. Association of persistent physical symptoms and socio-economic deprivation Sheffield CCG (RCF) £25,128 October 2019 for 6 months 

Conroy S, Mason S, Martin G, Street A, Burton C, Brailsford S, Preston L, Riley P, Jagruti L, Identifying models of care to improve outcomes for older people with emergency and urgent care NIHR HS&DR £931,654, September 2018 for 36 months

Burton C, Deary DV, Rowlands GR, Waheed W, Greco M, Nielson A, Cooper C, Dawson J, White D, Thomas R. Thomas S. Multiple Symptoms Study 3: pragmatic trial of a community based clinic for patients with persistent (medically unexplained) physical symptoms) NIHR HS&DR £1,194,291; February 2018 for 40 months. 

Burton C, Hodges V, Jackson B, Sanders T. Wiser Testing Sheffield CCG (RCF) £9,859 October 2017 for 6 months

Burton C, Weich S, Christensen H, Blackmore C, Easton K.  Technology Assisted Recovery Goal Elicitation and Transaction (TARGET) Preparatory Work.Sheffield Health & Social Care Trust. £20,000, September 2017 for 6 months.

Burton C, Bhattacharya S, Iversen L, Ayansina, D, Saraswat L, Sleeman D. Longitudinal History Patterns For Earlier Diagnosis Of Endometriosis, Chief Scientist Office, £28,500, August 2015 for 6 months. 

McKinstry B, Anderson S, Agakov F, Pinnock H, Burton C. Learning to Care. MRC Confidence in Concept £65,361 August 2014 for 6 months

Burton C, Entwistle V, Ryan M, Elliott A, Krucien N, Porteous T. Discrete Choice Experiment to value patient preferences for self-management. The Health Foundation £159,000 March 2014 for 15 months.

Burton C, Elliott A, Deary V, Thomas R, Multiple Symptoms Study 2. A feasibility study to manualise, teach and demonstrate the delivery of the Symptoms Clinic intervention. Chief Scientist Office £139,962 March 2014 for one year

Platt S, Burton C, Chandler A. General Practitioner understanding and management of patients who self-harm: a qualitative study. Chief Scientist Office £47,084.  March 2013 for 15 months.

McKinstry B, Burton C, Wolters M, Pagliari C, Matheson C, in partnership with institutions in Spain, Italy and Romania. Help4Mood, a computational distributed system to support the treatment of patients with major depression. European Union (FP7 programme). January 2010 to June 2014 (total €2.8M, Edinburgh €455,398) 

Burton C, Simpson C,. Analysis of antidepressant prescribing data using the Scottish Primary Care Clinical Informatics Unit database. Scottish Government Directorate of Health Delivery. 2010 (£6,875

Teaching activities

MBChB: I lead the Critical Appraisal SSC in Phase 1 and contribute to teaching on evidence based medicine. I contribute to the introductory lectures to the Research Attachment SSC in Phase 2 and regularly host groups of students on attachment. In later years I’m interested to teach advanced clinical communication techniques including effective reassurance.