Medicines and prescribing

The Medicines and Prescribing research group at the Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC) is a small but rapidly expanding multidisciplinary team of researchers. We have broad interests covering a range of topics related to the rational and safe use of medicines in primary care. 

Areas of interest include:

  • polypharmacy
  • deprescribing
  • medicines optimisation
  • pharmacoepidemiology.

Given the breadth of the subject, we have links to other CAPC research groups, such as those working on mental health and multimorbidity.

We also have active collaborations with researchers at the Universities of Cambridge, Nottingham, Oxford and Dundee, and support the provision of undergraduate teaching on pharmacology and therapeutics at Bristol Medical School.

Medicines and prescribing facts

Medications are the main therapeutic intervention offered by clinicians to improve health, with most prescribing occurring in primary care.

Over 1 billion items are dispensed annually in primary care in England alone, and prescribing accounts for the biggest proportion of non-staff expenditure by the NHS. 

Over half of patients in their 70s are on at least four regular medications.

The team

Current projects

  • BRISMED Study - Improving the quality of medication reviews in general practice. McCahon D. (PI). Funder: National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).




  • Investigating the relationship between continuity of care and patients' medication use. Tammes P, Salisbury C, Morris R, Payne R. Funder: NIHR School for Primary Care Research (June 2020-March 2021)
  • Maximising wellbeing in everyday life with long-term conditions (MaxWELL). Mann C, Johnson RSalisbury C, Barnes B, Horwood JDe Vocht F,  McLeod H. Funder: RCF (2020-2021)



  • Using linked primary care and viral surveillance data to develop risk stratification models to inform management of severe COVID19. Payne R, Kontopantelis EMant J, Denholm R, Cooper J, Forbes H, Herbert A, Tammes P. Funder SPCR (2020).

Completed projects

  • Diagnosis and management of infectious disease in primary care during the COVID-19 lockdown: changes in antibacterial and antiviral use. Denholm R, Payne R, Hay A. Funder: EBI (2020)
  • What is the role of genetics in primary care? Payne R. Funder: NIHR Evidence Synthesis Working Group. Funder: NIHR School for Primary Care Research (2017-2020)
  • GP perspectives on the utility of tool to effect deprescribing in clinical practice. Payne R, McCahon D, Abel GFunder:RCF (2019)
  • Patient experiences and perceptions of medication review in general practice. McCahon D, Horwood J, Payne RA, Duncan P. Funder: RCGP SFB (2018-2019)


  • Using national administrative data to evaluate new models of primary care prescribing. Payne RA, Denholm R, McCahon D, Kontopantelis E, Rodgers S. Funder: NIHR School of Primary Care Research (2018-2019)
  • The effectiveness of CVD preventative treatment in a multi-morbid population. Denholm R, Macleod J, Payne RA, Morris R, Davies N. Funder: NIHR School for Primary Care Research (2017-2019) 
  • Developing a model of medication review for use in clinical practice. McCahon D, Duncan P, Payne RA. Funder: RCF (2018)

  • Developing a measure of inappropriate polypharmacy in primary care. Payne RA, Hay A, Morris R, MacLeod J, Avery A, Rodgers S, Burt J, Campbell S. Funder: NIHR School for Primary Care Research (2016-2018) 
  • Impact of hospital admission upon patterns of primary care prescribing. Payne RA, Purdy S, Morris R. Funder: NIHR School for Primary Care Research (2016-2018)
Edit this page