Imperial College London

Thomas E. Cowling

Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

NIHR Research Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 0779t.cowling Website




309Reynolds BuildingCharing Cross Campus





Tom works in the Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Public Health. He is funded by a Doctoral Research Fellowship from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Tom studies two main topics:

Access to primary care: The UK government plans to make it easier for patients to see their family doctor. It expects this will reduce use of emergency hospital services which has increased markedly over the past decade.

Use of emergency hospital services: From 2004-05 to 2013-14, visits to accident and emergency (A&E) departments in England increased from 17.8 to 21.8 million. Emergency hospital admissions increased from 4.4 to 5.3 million.

Tom looks at national policy on these topics and develops mathematical models of the relationship between them using national surveys and hospital data. An overview of his work is given in The BMJ here.

Tom works most closely with Matthew Harris (Senior Policy Fellow) and Azeem Majeed (Professor of Primary Care).

Their research often features in the national broadcast media, such as on Sky News here. It has also appeared in newspapers including The Times, The Economist, and The Guardian.

Tom studied biomedical sciences (BSc; 1st Class) and public health (MPH; Distinction) at Imperial College from 2008 to 2012.

He was awarded Imperial's Shelia Adam Centenary Prize for Public Health and Epidemiology in 2012, and Early Career Researcher prizes from the Society for Academic Primary Care in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Cowling TE, Harris M, Watt H, et al., 2015, Access to primary care and the route of emergency admission to hospital: retrospective analysis of national hospital administrative data., Bmj Qual Saf

Cowling TE, Harris MJ, Majeed A, 2015, Evidence and rhetoric about access to UK primary care., Bmj, Vol:350

Cowling TE, Soljak MA, Bell D, et al., 2014, Emergency hospital admissions via accident and emergency departments in England: time trend, conceptual framework and policy implications., J R Soc Med, Vol:107, Pages:432-438

Cowling TE, Harris MJ, Watt HC, et al., 2014, Access to general practice and visits to accident and emergency departments in England: cross-sectional analysis of a national patient survey., Br J Gen Pract, Vol:64, Pages:e434-e439

Cowling TE, Cecil EV, Soljak MA, et al., 2013, Access to Primary Care and Visits to Emergency Departments in England: A Cross-Sectional, Population-Based Study, PLOS One, Vol:8, ISSN:1932-6203

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