Dr Oonagh Corrigan

Senior Research Fellow: Sector Lead - Smart Living

Faculty:Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education

Department:School of Nursing & Midwifery

Location: Chelmsford

Areas of Expertise: Health and wellbeing , Social Work and Social Policy

Oonagh Corrigan is a sociologist with experience in collaborative, national and international research in health, social care and clinical education.


Previously, Oonagh has held senior research posts at the University of Cambridge, Plymouth and Exeter Medical schools and most recently at Healthwatch Essex.

Throughout her career, she has focused both on citizens’ experiences of health and social care, as well as scientific, technological and policy solutions designed to meet their needs and improve people’s health and wellbeing more generally.

Recently, Oonagh has highlighted the demands on health and social care service of the growing ageing population, and patients’ and family carers’ experiences of hospital discharge. This work has prepared her well for her current role, where she leads and facilitates inter-disciplinary collaborations for the production and implementation of innovative technological solutions for the ageing population, via our Smart Living Accelerator (SLA).

Through the SLA, Oonagh facilitates a range of consultancy, research, knowledge exchange and commercialisation opportunities across a broad portfolio of disciplines including health, social care, medical technology, medical science and nursing. Working with private and public sector stakeholders in the Smart Living marketplace, she plays a key role in developing and fostering partnerships with external organisations.

Research interests

  • Healthcare policy and practice
  • Phenomenology of health and illness
  • Qualitative and innovative methods
  • Ethics and values in healthcare
  • Co-production strategies in research
  • The role of family caregivers

Oonagh’s research interests are concerned with improving the understanding of people’s everyday experiences of health, illness and wellbeing, and new medical technologies and on ensuring that providers are enabled (through research and product development) to meet the needs of the growing ageing population and their family caregivers.

Areas of research supervision

Oonagh would be pleased to consider supervising doctoral students with the following research interests/topics:

  • Smart and assisted living
  • People’s experiences of innovative health and wellbeing technologies
  • Ageing well
  • End of life care
  • Hospital discharge
Recent and current doctoral supervision as first supervisor:
  • An exploration of the contemporary working life and professionalism of general practitioners (June 2016)
  • Newspaper and media coverage of human cloning debates in the US and the UK (2008)
  • A genetic diagnosis of obesity: social and moral experiences of the body and responsibility in childhood’ (2008)


  • Qualitative research methods
  • Social aspects of new medical and health technologies


  • PhD Sociology, ‘A sociology of Bioethics and Clinical Trials’, University of Essex, 2000M
  • BA (Hons) Sociology, 1st Class, Anglia Ruskin University, 1995

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Fellow, RSA (Royal Society of Arts)

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • 2016 – 2017, Healthwatch Essex, Research Consultancy, £9,500
  • 2014 – 2016, North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group & Education East of England, £30, 000
  • 2012, Wellcome Trust, Ethics and Society, Travel Grant to California Pacific Medical Center. A collaboration with academics and practitioners at the Medical Center’s Program in Medicine & Human Values, £1,500
  • 2011 – 2012, Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness, Co- investigator, Research initiation funding to support 'Trust and distrust within the patient-provider relationship', £9,979
  • 2008 – 2013, Peninsula Medical School, Grant holder for PhD Studentship, An exploration of the contemporary working life and professionalism of general practitioners in Devon and Cornwall, £58,166
  • 2010 – 2012, The Health Foundation, co-investigator, What is Revalidation in Policy? £82,519
  • 2009 – 2010, London (Hospitals) Deanery, Co-investigator. Development of an evaluation tool for postgraduate clinical supervisors, £28,000
  • 2009 – 2010, South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, MMC: Modernizing Medical Careers Study, £7,000
  • 2008 – 2010, South West Peninsula Deanery and PCMD, A longitudinal evaluation of Peninsula Medical School graduates (F1 doctors study), £30,000
  • 2007 – 2008, Leverhulme Trust, Study Abroad Fellowship, Promoting inter discipline research. Centre for Applied Ethics, University of British Columbia, £21,000
  • 2000 – 2003 Wellcome Trust Biomedical Ethics Award, Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship: The socio-cultural and ethical implications of innovative genetic-based drug development, £97,000

Selected recent publications

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Georgiadis, A., Corrigan, O.P., & Speed, E., 2016. Frontline healthcare staffs’ experience of organising complex Hospital Discharges: an ethnographic study. Ethics & Behavior (Published online: 20 June 2016).

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. http://www.healthwatchessex.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Report-WEB.pdf

Letherby, G., Davis, A., Fletcher, H., Guest, C., Luff-Smith, R., Paul, M., Taylor, L., & Corrigan, O., 2016. Negotiating the Care Maze: The process of decision-making when a family member or friend needs full-time residential care. Healthwatch Essex. http://www.healthwatchessex.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Negotiating-the-Care-Maze.pdf

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), pp1–7.

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, pp168–176.

Recent presentations and conferences

2016, Co-producing Impact, [plenary speaker] Impact conference, Wivenhoe House. April

2015, Cancer Services at Colchester: A study of Patient and Carer Experience, [Guest Speaker] Improving Patient Care Conference, Healthwatch Manchester, 7 November

2014, Collaborative Health: Listening to the Voice of the People who use Health Services, [Guest Speaker] Public Engagement in Health Symposium, School of Health and Human Sciences, University of Essex, 10 April

2013, Qualitative Research Methods [Guest Speaker] Evaluation of Whole Systems in Interaction: Workshop, University of Exeter, 26 June

2013, The Transition from Medical Student to Junior Doctor, [Plenary Keynote Speaker and workshop convener] Medical Education Conference: Preparedness for Practice, Keele University Medical School, 17 April