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Pathways through Care: Health, Social care and Multimorbidity

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Rutherford
    Prof D Bell
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

ESRC/Scottish Government PhD Studentship
School of Applied Social Science, University of Stirling

Supervisors: Dr Alasdair Rutherford and Professor David Bell, in collaboration with the Scottish Government

Closing Date: June 2nd, 2014
Interviews will be held on Tue 10th June 2014

Research Summary

The relationship between health and social care services is a critical one, and better integration is high on the agenda of many European countries (Leichsenring,2004). However, difficulties in combining good data on both health services and social care means that understanding this relationship, and the impact it has on the wellbeing of older people, is a real challenge for both researchers and policy makers.

In Scotland, there was a significant shift in the balance of care towards increased provision of care at home even before the introduction of free personal care (Bell and Bowes, 2007), and has this has continued since. The Scottish Government has committed to improving health and social care services for people with multi-morbidities in order to improve outcomes for these groups (Scottish Government, 2013), and to supporting older people to stay in their own homes, receiving any care they may need without moving to hospital or care home settings unless this is absolutely necessary. Scotland has also kept ahead of the rest of the UK in improving partnership working between health and social care services (Evans & Forbes, 2009).

This PhD project would make use of a pioneering data linkage undertaken by Health Analytical Services Division, Scottish Government, in partnership with NHS Scotland and local authorities which brings together administrative health data held by NHS Scotland and social care data provided by local authorities and other care providers. This new dataset has been piloted with 5 local authorities (with more LAs soon to be added), linking annual home care data with SMR records so far. This PhD will examine the ‘care pathways ‘through both health and social care taken by people with multi-morbidities. This will increase our understanding of the different routes taken by individuals, how these paths vary geographically and by socio-economic characteristics, and gain an insight into how decision-making at different points of these paths affects longer term health outcomes. The project will also explore incorporating economic and cost data in order to estimate the cost implications of different pathways.


This is a three-year “+3” research award from the ESRC DTC, commencing in October 2014.

The opportunity would particularly suit an applicant interested in the analysis of health and/or social care data, ageing, or the analysis of linked administrative data more widely.

A criterion for receipt of this award is to have an appropriate Masters qualification in a related discipline, with an interest in both quantitative and qualitative methods. Related disciplines include (but are not limited to) social policy, public health, sociology, applied social research, economics, quantitative methods, or social statistics. The ESRC also has residential criteria for awards. More detail on the eligibility criteria can be found at

The full ESRC PG Funding Guide is online at:

Applications should include a covering letter, a full CV, two references (at least one of which should be an academic reference), and a 500 word summary research proposal outlining your approach to the project. The proposal will be assessed for candidates’:
• Awareness of relevant research literature
• Familiarity with quantitative research methods
• Familiarity with qualitative research methods
• Interest in the topic area.

Your covering letter should show that you meet the qualification and residential criteria.

Applications should be sent to:

Ms Linda Campbell,
School of Applied Social Science,
University of Stirling,
Stirling FK9 4LA
[Email Address Removed]

Further information

You are invited to contact Dr Alasdair Rutherford with any questions.
Details: School of Applied Social Science, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA [Email Address Removed] +44 (0)1786 466 409

Web page:
Research Proposal:

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