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  1. Models of Care
School of Health Sciences

Models of Care Group

Our research focuses on evaluating models of maternity, child and family services and care. Our work aims to improve care through rigorous studies using a range of methodologies with an emphasis on evidence-based care, appropriate uses of technology, service change and development and professional and user experience issues. This theme also has a strong inter-disciplinary thread of applying social science concepts and epidemiological approaches to clinical and organisational issues. Much of our work adopts a critical theory perspective, and takes account of the complexity of healthcare interventions and contexts. We currently have 17 members of staff and 3 doctoral students focusing on research such as concepts of choice, risk and safety and their relationship with service delivery and change, birth in different settings, professionalisation processes and experiences, gender and healthcare and concepts of motherhood, childhood and the family.

Our findings have been published in high impact journals and presented at conferences around the world. We have established links with a range of user, professional and policy organisations and university departments at local, national and international levels. Our work has influenced the development of maternity services throughout the United Kingdom (UK), and has impacted on health policy in this area.


PhD Students


2011-2016, Improving quality of care andoutcome at very preterm birth. Duley, Abbott, Ayers et al. NIHR programme grant £1,885,541

2012 - 2014, The Birthplace in England Research Programme:further analyses to enhance policy and service delivery decision-making for planned place of birth. Hollowell, Macfarlane, McCourt et al. NIHR Service and Delivery Organisation. £286,094

2011 - 2014, Europeristat Action. Zeitlin, Gissler, Buitendijk, Mohangoo, Alexander, Hong Zhang, Szomultska, Macfarlane. European Union, Public Health Directorate. £524,900

2012 - 2013, Transition experiences of young people with Sickle Cell Disease. Newell,Christie, Thomas and Ellis. Roald Dahl Charity and Burdett Trust. £7,500

2012, Influences on exclusive and partial breastfeeding rates within the Bangladeshi community in Tower Hamlets. McCourt, Macfarlane, Christie, Rayment and Khanam. NHS North East London and the City PCT. £16,000

2011 - 2012, An Organisational Study of Alongside Midwife-led Units: A follow-on from the Birthplace in England Programme. McCourt, Sandall, Rayment, Rance, Brocklehurst, Cooke, Bewley, Beake, Newburn, Macdonald. NIHR SDO (now HS&DR). £317,245

2011, Keeping Birth normal took - initial field testing and evaluation. Kanikasamy, McCourt £20,000

2009 - 2012, Linkage, analysis and dissemination of national birth and maternity data for England and Wales. Macfarlane, Datta-Nemdharry, Dattani. MRC. £295,816

2009 - 2011, Macfarlane, Dodwell, Ward Platt, Hilder, Moser. Linkage, analysis and dissemination of national birth and maternity data for England and Wales. MRC. £295,816

2006 - 2010, Birthplace in England Programme. PI: Brocklehurst. NPEU; CIs: McCourt & Macfarlane, City University London, and others, Department of Health Policy Research Programme and NIHR SDO. £1,500,000 approx.

2009, Choice and access to maternity care in Islington. Macfarlane. Islington PCT. £26,635

2008 - 2009, Europeristat- III (€197577). Macfarlane et al. EC-Public Health Executive Agency. £167,662

2008 - 2009, Assessing the impact of a new birth centre on choice and outcome of maternity care in an inner city area. Macfarlane et al National Institute for Health Research, Research for Patient Benefit. £249,993

2007 - 2008, Randomised controlled trial of cord clamping in preterm infants. Rabe, Ayers et al. Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals. £30,000



Cheyne H, McCourt C, & Semple K. (2013) Mother knows best: developing a consumer led research agenda for maternity care. Midwifery, 29(6), 705-712.

Rance, S., C. McCourt, J. Rayment, N. Mackintosh, W. Carter, K. Watson, J. Sandall (2013) Women's safety alerts in maternity care: is speaking up enough? British Medical Journal: Quality and Safety, 22(4), 348-355.

Sawyer A, Rabe H, Abbott J, Gyte G, Duley L, & Ayers S. (2013) Parents' experiences and satisfaction with care during the birth of their very preterm baby: A qualitative study. British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. 120(5), 637-643.


Curtis-Tyler K. (2012) Facilitating children's contributions in clinic? Findings from an in-depth qualitative study with children with Type 1 diabetes. Diabetic Medicine, 29, 1303-1310.

McCourt C, Rance S, Rayment J, & Sandall J. (2012) Organisational Strategies And Midwives' Readiness To Provide Care For Out Of Hospital Births: An Analysis From The Birthplace Organisational Case Studies. Midwifery, Special Issue: Place of Birth, 28(5), 636-645.

Rayment J, McCourt C, Sandall J, & Rance S. (2012) Maternity services in rural areas: learning from two trusts serving rural communities. Perspectives (Journal of the NCT): June 2012,19-20.

Rayment J, McCourt C, Rance S, & Sandall J. (2012) Choosing out of hospital birth. AIMS Journal: Place of Birth - why women don't have a real choice, 24(2)

Scamell M, & Alaszewski A. (2012) Fateful moments and the categorisation of risk: midwifery practice and the ever-narrowing window of normality during childbirth. Health Risk and Society, 14(2), 207-221.


Beake S, Schmied V, Sheehan S, McCourt C, & Dykes F. (2011) A meta-synthesis of women's perceptions and experiences of breastfeeding support. Birth, 38(1), 49-59.

Birthplace in England Collaborative Group: Brocklehurst P, Hardy P, Hollowell J, Linsell L, Macfarlane A, McCourt C, et al. (2011) Perinatal and maternal outcomes by planned place of birth for healthy women with low risk pregnancies: the Birthplace in England national prospective cohort study. British Medical Journal, 343:d7400. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d7400.

Cartwright K, Mahoney L, Ayers S, & Rabe H. (2011) Parents' perceptions of their infants' participation in randomized controlled trials. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, 40(5), 555-565.

Curtis-Tyler K. (2011) Levers and barriers to patient-centred care with children: findings from a synthesis of studies of the experiences of children living with type 1 diabetes or asthma. Child Care Health Development, 37(4), 540-50.

McCourt C, Rance S, Rayment J, Sandall J. (2011) Birthplace qualitative organisational case studies: How maternity care systems may affect the provision of care in different birth settings. Birthplace in England research programme. Final report part 6. NIHR Service Delivery and Organisation programme. London: HMSO, 1-137

McCourt C, Redshaw M, on behalf of the Birthplace in England research programme and mapping group. (2011) Mapping maternity care facilities in England. Evidence Based Midwifery, 9(2), 46-52.

Scamell M. (2011) The 'swan effect' in midwifery talk and practice: a tension between normality and the language of risk. Sociology of Health and Illness, 33(7), 987-1001.


De Valois B, Young T, Robinson N, McCourt C, & Maher E. (2010) Using traditional acupuncture for breast cancer-related hot flashes and night sweats. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(10), 1047-1057.

McCourt C. (2010) How midwives should organise to provide intrapartum care. In: D Walsh & S Downe (Eds). Essential Midwifery Practice: Intrapartum Care. Wiley-Blackwell: London.

McAree T, Beake S, & McCourt C. (2010) Perceptions of group practice midwifery amongst women in an ethnically diverse area. Evidence-Based Midwifery. 8(3),

Scamell M. (2010) Can all-fours breech birth ever be a reality within the NHS? The Practising Midwife, 13(7), 29-30.


McCourt C. (2009) (Ed) Childbirth, Midwifery and Concepts of Time. Oxford: Berghahn.

Walley P, Rayment J, & Cooke M W. (2009) The Redesign Practices and Capabilities of NHS Trusts in England: A Snapshot study. International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management, 10(4-5), 340-359.


Craig GM, Booth H, Hall J, Story A, Hayward A, Hall J, Goodburn A, & Zumla A. (2008) Establishing a new service role in tuberculosis care: the tuberculosis link worker. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 61(4), 413-424.

Craig GM. (2008) Involving users in developing health services. British Medical Journal, 336, 286-7.

Kimber L, McNabb M, McCourt C, Haines L, & Brocklehurst P. (2008) Massage or music for pain relief in labour. A pilot randomised placebo-controlled trial. European Journal of Pain, 12(8), 961-969.