Jess Drinkwater

Jess Drinkwater


I joined the University of Leeds in 2013 as a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) In-Practice Fellow before successfully gaining an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship in 2015. I currently work at the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences 3 days a week. I also work clinically as a GP in Bradford 2 days a week.

Before joining the University of Leeds, I was an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Manchester (2009-2013).  During this time I completed a Masters in Primary Care Research at the University of Manchester (2013). This included a dissertation investigating how to improve less than full time GP training for women with children using a feminist participatory action research approach. At the same time I completed my clinical training in Salford and South Manchester, qualifying as a GP in August 2013.

I studied medicine at the University of Manchester graduating in 2007. As an undergraduate I conducted research into the effect of gender on medical students' career aspirations. I took a year out in 2005/6 to complete an Intercalated BSc in International Health at the University of Leeds, investigating women's rights regarding family planning in Malawi, for my dissertation..

Research interests

I am interested in improving health systems, especially primary care, through evidence based policy by understanding how health policy and health systems are shaped by those that use them and work within them. My research interests include;

  • Patient and public involvement in service delivery. This is the focus of my PhD (see below)
  • Participatory research methods
  • Qualitative research (I co-chair the LIHS qualitative research group)
  • The effect of gender on both health and workforce, particularly in general practice. I have been involved in research developing training for GPs about domestic abuse, and research investigating the effect of gender on medical training.

My PhD explores using participatory research methods to strengthen the role of patient and public involvement in general practice service improvement. The project involves working with stakeholders (patients and the public, doctors, nurses, practice managers and other practice staff) involved in Patient Participation Groups, as a co-research group, to develop an intervention to strengthen the role that patients and the public have in shaping decisions in local general practices. This work builds on my previous NIHR In-Practice Fellowship which explored the impact of patient and public involvement on primary care service delivery.

Together with the PhD co-research group and working with Bradford District and Craven CCGs, we have been awarded an ESRC Impact Acceleration Account to develop an applied theatre workshop for patients and staff to reflect on how they work together to make organisational decisions.

I am also an ambassador for the Society for Academic Primary Care (SAPC).


  • MRes Primary Care Research (Distinction), 2013
  • MRCGP, 2013
  • MBChB Medicine, 2007
  • BSc Intercalated Degree in International Health (Honours), 2006

Professional memberships

  • Society for Academic Primary Care
  • Royal College of General Practitioners

Student education

I currently supervise undergradate medical student research projects on a variety of topics releated to general practice.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Health Sciences
  • Primary care