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The majority of care in the UK is provided by family and friends rather than by the NHS and social care services. The 2011 Census revealed that 6.5 million people in the UK are carers. Since the 2000’s, there has been a shift in the locus of care from hospitals and care homes to care at home. Carers have had to take on a quasi-nursing role, with higher physical and emotional demands being placed on them. Carers are also likely to face considerable financial hardship due to extra expenditure for equipment and other support, as well as facing social isolation. Previous work has focused on the mental health and well-being of carers, but, according to recent reviews, there are major gaps in the evidence base on the physical health consequences of caring, with a lack of prospective studies and a lack of control for confounding. 

Using data from the Million Women Study, a prospective cohort study of UK women, this research will provide robust evidence on the physical health consequences of caring and the cost to the NHS associated with any increase in hospital admissions for carers.

The objectives of the project are to:

  1. assess the prospective association between caring and risk of cause-specific hospital admissions
  2. assess whether the association of caring with hospital admissions varies by socio-economic factors
  3. estimate the additional costs associated with any increase in hospital admissions.


Training in advanced statistics, epidemiological methods, programming, and scientific writing will be provided. Attendance at seminars, workshops and courses provided by the Department and University will also be encouraged. There will be opportunity to present research work at relevant international/national conferences.


This project will be most suitable for a student who has an interest in social epidemiology, health economics and population health. Basic knowledge of epidemiology and statistics is required.