Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology

Margaret Watson

Professor of Health Services Research

5 West - 3.33


Tel: +44 (0) 1225 386787 


Professor Margaret C. Watson


I joined the University of Bath in October 2016 and I lead the Health and Clinical Research theme in the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. I registered as a pharmacist in 1987 and worked as a clinical pharmacist for eight years in various hospitals throughout the UK and more recently spent three years in pharmaceutical public health. 

I moved into health services research in the 1990s and was awarded my PhD (1998) from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Bristol. Along the way, I was awarded an MSc Epidemiology (2003) and Certificate in Pharmacovigilance and Pharmacoepidemiology (2001) from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as well as an MSc Clinical Pharmacy from the University of Strathclyde (1989).  

Much of my academic career has been supported by Fellowships from the Medical Research Council, Leverhulme Foundation and South West Regional Health Authority.

My current Health Foundation Improvement Science Fellowship is a senior post-doctoral Fellowship which includes a unique leadership development programme.

My wider academic roles have included membership of the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office Health Improvement, Protection and Services Research Committee and the International Journal of Pharmacy Practice editorial board.

I chaired the Royal Pharmaceutical Conference (2012), Health Services Research and Pharmacy Practice Conference (2014) and the International Social Pharmacy Workshop (2016).

Research interests

The overall purpose of my research is to optimise patient outcome through:

  • the safe and effective use of medicines
  • effective professional practice

My research is collaborative and multi-disciplinary and draws on different theoretical approaches and methodologies.

The methods which I use include:

  • systematic literature reviews to synthesise existing evidence
  • qualitative methods that are theoretically-underpinned, to explore the behaviour of service users (patients/consumers) or providers (pharmacists, pharmacy personnel, other health care professionals) to identify key determinants of specific behaviours
  • quantitative methods (randomised controlled trials, cohort studies, questionnaires) to develop and test the effect of interventions to achieve behaviour change i.e. evidence based practice, quality improvement in health service delivery and patient outcomes 


SESAME (Safe and Effective Supply And use of MEdicines)

The purpose of this research programme is to optimise the management of acute consultations in community pharmacies. Acute consultations can include advice-seeking for the management of a symptom or condition, or requests to purchase a specific non-prescription medicine (NPM).

Triads-P (Translational Research in a Pharmacy setting)

I am the lead for the pharmacy component of a translational research programme (TRiaDS) funded by NHS Education for Scotland. 

The MINA (Minor Ailment) Study

The purpose of this two-year programme funded by Pharmacy Research UK was to explore the contribution which community pharmacy could make to the management of minor ailments and the impact this could have on demand in high cost health care settings e.g. general medical practices, emergency departments (EDs). The results have been widely disseminated and informed national policy for out-of-hours care in Scotland.


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