Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow





319Reynolds BuildingCharing Cross Campus





I am a GP principal in Islington and an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow based at Imperial College London. This Fellowship award will be for 5 years part-time, from September 2017 to August 2022. I am based at the Child Health Unit at the Department of Primary Care and Public Health. My supervision team consists of Professor Sonia Saxena (primary supervisor), Dr Alex Bottle and Professor Helen Ward.

My main research interest is in improving access and delivery of sexual and reproductive healthcare in UK general practice. I have a broad definition of sexual health which includes: contraception, abortion, sexually transmitted infections, HIV as well as sexual well-being and improving experience of LGBT patients.

I have a wider interest in public health, health services and how to influence behaviour of primary care practitioners to improve practice and healthcare delivery.

I was awarded Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2017; my thesis examined behaviour of general practitioners to deliver public health programmes –in short, financial incentive is not the answer!

During my NIHR In-Practice Fellowship (1/12/2014 to 30/11/2016), I conducted a feasibility study using large database of electronic health records from general practice (Clinical Practice Research Datalink - CPRD) to examine trends in abortions in UK general practice. I am building on this for my doctoral research fellowship project. Using the CPRD and focus group interviews, I will examine how we can improve contraceptive care in UK general practice.

Aside from generating research, I am interested in using innovative ways to communicate with the public and professionals. I want to explore using Twitter, YouTube, infographics, theatre and Instagram to do just that. I am quite active on Twitter – my handles are @Richard_GP and @GP_SexualHealth; I am still exploring Instagram – my handle is richard_ma on there.



Cecil E, Dewa L, Ma R, et al., 2021, General practitioner and nurse practitioner attitudes towards electronic reminders in primary care: A qualitative analysis, Bmj Open, Vol:11, ISSN:2044-6055

Gillespie D, Knapper C, Hughes D, et al., 2021, Early impact of COVID-19 social distancing measures on reported sexual behaviour of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis users in Wales, Sexually Transmitted Infections, Vol:97, ISSN:1368-4973, Pages:85-87

Ma R, Cecil E, Bottle A, et al., 2020, Impact of a pay-for-performance scheme for long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) advice on contraceptive uptake and abortion in British primary care: An interrupted time series study, Plos Medicine, Vol:17, ISSN:1549-1277, Pages:e1003333-e1003333

Rai T, Bruton P, Kall M, et al., 2019, Experience of primary care for people with HIV: a mixed-method analysis, British Journal of General Practice, Vol:3, ISSN:0960-1643


Ma R, Cecil E, French R, et al., 2020, Impact of financial incentives for primary care to give long acting reversible contraceptive advice, OXFORD UNIV PRESS, ISSN:1101-1262

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