Dr Oonagh Corrigan

Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care
School of Allied Health and Social Care
Areas of Expertise:
Allied and public health
Research Supervision:

Oonagh is an experienced sociologist with expertise in healthcare policy, medical education and the moral and ethical aspects of healthcare and medicine. She has expertise in qualitative research methods and adopts phenomenological approaches to examine people's experiences, perceptions, perspectives and understandings of health and illness.

[email protected]


Oonagh has previously held senior research and teaching posts at the Universities of Cambridge, Plymouth and Exeter. Most recently she led a programme of research on citizens’ experiences of health and social care for Healthwatch Essex. Throughout her career she has worked collaboratively in multi-disciplinary environments with senior academics, scientists, and health and social care professionals and commissioners.

Research interests

Oonagh’s interests lie in people’s everyday lived experience of healthcare and in how these experiences align, or not, with associated policies. For example, her work on patients’ informed consent in the context of clinical trials demonstrates the prevailing trust relationship between doctor and patient and how some experience the consent process as a burden rather than as process of autonomous decision making. Her more recent work on hospital discharge shows how despite policies and guidance on the importance of ensuring that patients and their families are involved in planning a patient’s discharge from hospital, they are often not, and that poor communication systems, combined with a lack of care continuity, results in patients and their families feeling uninformed and anxious.

Areas of research supervision
  • Policies to enhance community care
  • Self-care and wellbeing
  • Public engagement
  • Moral aspects of professional practice
  • Experiences of informal carers
  • End of life and advanced care planning
  • Policies on hospital discharge
  • Moral distress and stress and burnout of healthcare workers
Successfully completed PhD supervisions (as Director of Studies):
  • An exploration of the contemporary working life and professionalism of general practitioners. (University of Exeter Medical School, Funded by Peninsula Medical School, completed 2017).
  • Newspaper and media coverage of human cloning debates in the US and the UK. Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social & Political Sciences, University of Cambridge. (Funded by Gates Scholarship, completed, 2008).
  • A genetic diagnosis of obesity: Social and moral experiences of the body and responsibility in childhood. Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust, completed 2008).
  • UK Health Policy
  • Qualitative Research methods (including ethnography and sensory methods)
  • Social determinants of health and disease
  • Professionalism, theory and practice
  • Ethical issues and cultural aspects of medicine and healthcare
  • Socio-ethical issues in human genetics
  • Personalized Medicine
  • History and theories of eugenics
  • Social and ethical aspects of clinical drug trials
  • Social aspects and ethical aspects of death and dying
  • Values in Medicine and Healthcare
  • Organ procurement and transplants
  • PhD Sociology, University of Essex, 2000
  • BA (Hons) Sociology, 1st Class, Anglia Ruskin University, 1995.
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Visiting Fellow, School of Health & Social Care, University of Essex, since 2014
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Arts, since 2016.
  • Honorary Fellow, Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine, 2014 -2017.
  • Visiting Scholar, California Pacific Medical Center, Program in Medicine & Human Values, Stutter Health, San Francisco, 2011.
  • Visiting Scholar, Bioethics Program, School of Medicine, University of Michigan, 2008.
  • Leverhulme Trust Visiting Fellow, Centre for Applied Ethics, University of British Columbia, 2007-2008.
  • Senior Fellow and Director of Studies, St. Edmunds College, University of Cambridge, 2002-2005.
Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange
  • £9,500 (Healthwatch Essex Insights & Mid and South Essex Success Regime)
    Project: A deliberative democracy study engaging local citizens on acute health care service reconfiguration 2016
  • £30,000 (Healthwatch Essex & North East Essex CCG & Education East of England)
    Project: Hospital Discharge at Colchester General Hospital 2015
  • £1,500 (Wellcome Trust, Ethics and Society)
    Project: Travel Grant to California Pacific Medical Center. A collaboration with academics and practitioners at the Medical Center’s Program in Medicine & Human Values. 2012
  • £30,000 (South West Peninsula Deanery and Peninsula Medical School)
    Project: A longitudinal evaluation of Peninsula Medical School graduates (F1 doctors study). 2008
  • £21,000 (Leverhulme Trust, visiting abroad Fellowship)
    Project: Study Abroad Fellowship, Promoting inter disciplinary ethics research. . Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics, UBC
  • £3,000 (Wellcome Trust Biomedical Ethics Award)
    Project: Conference Grant: After Consent: A Socio-ethical Approach to Human Subject Research in Medicine 2005
  • £97,000 (Wellcome Trust Biomedical Ethics Award)
    Project: Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship: The socio-cultural and ethical implications of innovative genetic-based drug development
Selected recent publications

Vagwala, M. K., Bicquelet, A., Didziokaite, G., Coomber, R., Corrigan, O., & Singh, I (July 2017) ‘A Moral Ecology of Smart Drugs in British Universities’. Neuroethics. 10:3 389–403.

Georgiadis, A., Corrigan, & O.P (2017) ‘The experience of transitional care for general medical older patients and family caregivers: a qualitative study’. Qualitative Health Research 4: 1-9.

Tomlinson, J., Letherby, G., Bendall, A., Pinkney, J. Adams, L., Stenhouse, E., and Corrigan, O. (2017) (In Press). ‘A qualitative study of the diagnosis and lived experience of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome’. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 73:2318–2326.

Georgiadis, A., Corrigan, O.P., & Speed, E (2017) ‘Frontline healthcare staffs’ experience of organising complex Hospital Discharges: an ethnographic study’. Ethics & Behavior 27(4): 335-350.

Corrigan, O., Georgiadis, A., Davies, A., Lane, P., Milne, E., Speed, E & Wood. D. (2016) Insights into Hospital Discharge: A Study of Patient, Carer and Staff Experience in Essex. Healthwatch Essex.

Wood, D. & Corrigan, O. (2016) Insights into Hospital Discharge: Survey Findings. Healthwatch Essex.

Letherby, G., Corrigan, O., Davies, A., Fletcher, H., Guest, C., Luff-Smith, R., Paul, M., & Taylor, L. (2016) Negotiating the Care Maze: The Process of Decision-making when a Family Member or Friend Needs Full-time Residential Care.

Healthwatch Essex.

Fok, J., Parsons, J., & Corrigan, O. (2016) Social and Cultural Aspects of Food Shopping: A Pilot Study of Mums’ Healthy and Unhealthy Food Choices. Healthwatch Essex.

Corrigan, O., Georgiadis, A., Davies, A., Lane, P., Milne, E., Speed, E & Wood. D. (2016) Insights into Hospital Discharge: A Study of Patient, Carer and Staff Experience at Princess Alexandra Hospital. Healthwatch Essex. 

Corrigan, O., Georgiadis, A., Davies, A., Lane, P., Milne, E., Speed, E & Wood. D. (2016) Insights into Hospital Discharge: A Study of Patient, Carer and Staff Experience at Broomfield Hospital. Healthwatch Essex. http://www.healthwatchessex.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Insights-into-Hospital-Discharge-at-Broomfield-Hospital-Full-Report.pdf

Corrigan, O., Georgiadis, A., Davies, A., Lane, P., Milne, E., Speed, E & Wood, D (2016) Insights into Hospital Discharge: A study of Patient, Carer and Staff Experience at Colchester General Hospital. http://www.healthwatchessex.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Insights-into-Hospital-Discharge-at-Colchester-General-Hospital-Full-Report.pdf

Archer, J., Regan de Bere, S., Nunn, S., Clark, J. and Corrigan, O. (2015) ‘"No one has yet properly articulated what we are trying to achieve": A discourse analysis of interviews with revalidation policy leaders in the United Kingdom’. Academic Medicine 90(1): 88-93.

Guest, C., Corrigan, O., & Koffman, O. (2015) ‘You really do give up your own life, once you become a full-time carer’: Exploring the lived experience of carers in South Essex. Healthwatch Essex. http://www.healthwatchessex.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Healthwatch-Essex-Carers-Report-Full.pdf

Corrigan, O., McGuinness, N., Nutt, T., Hallowell, N., Wood, D., and Haines, S. (2014) Cancer Services in Colchester: A Study of Patient & Carer Experience. Healthwatch Essex.

Stenhouse, E. A., Letherby, G., Corrigan, O., Adams, L., and Bendall, A. (2014) Carbon Monoxide Screening in Pregnancy: An Evaluation Study of a Plymouth Pilot Intervention. Plymouth University, Plymouth

Brennan, N., Barnes, R., Calnan, M., Corrigan, O., Dieppe, P., and Entwistle, V. (2013) ‘Trust in the health care provider-patient relationship: A systematic mapping review of the evidence base’. International Journal of Quality in Health Care 25: (6) 1–7.

Archer, J., Regan De Bere, S., Clark, J., Corrigan, O., and Nunn, S. (2012) Revalidation in Policy: A Report for the Health Foundation.

Corrigan, O. P. (2012 [2003]) ‘Empty ethics: The problem with informed consent’. Republished online in Sociology of Health and Illness Virtual Special Issue 9: Selective Reproductive Technologies

Corrigan, O. P. (2011) ‘Personalized medicine in a consumer age’. [Feature article]. Current Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Medicine 9: 168–176.

Corrigan, O. and Brennan, N. (2010) Longitudinal Evaluation of South West Peninsula Deanery F1 Doctors Report. Peninsula Medical School and South West Deanery.

Brice, J., and Corrigan, O. (2010) ‘The changing landscape of medical education in the UK’. Medical Teacher 32: 727–732.

Brenan, N., Corrigan, O. P., Allard, J., Archer, J., Bleakley, A., Barnes, R., Collett, T. and Regan de Bere, S. (2010) ‘From medical student to junior doctor: Today’s experiences of Tomorrow’s Doctors’. Medical Education 44: 449–458.