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Dr Polly Duncan

Dr Polly Duncan

Dr Polly Duncan
BMedSci(Nott.), BMBS(Nott.)

NIHR In-Practice Senior Clinical Research Fellow

Clinical Research Fellow

Office 1.07
Canynge Hall,
39 Whatley Road, Bristol BS8 2PS
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+44 (0) 117 331 3903



I am a GP and NIHR In-Practice Fellow with an interest in multimorbidity, polypharmacy and deprescribing - the process of stopping medications with a view to improving health outcomes.  My current research project is a qualitative study to explore pharmacist, GP and patient perspectives on the prescribing aspect of a complex intervention.  This is part of the 3D study, a multicentre RCT which aims to improve the management of patients with multimorbidity in primary care.

I am lead author for a narrative review article about deprescribing from a UK general practice perspective.  The article, which has been submitted to The European Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, firstly, describes the increasing trend in polypharmacy (use of multiple medications) driven by an ageing multimorbid population, a trend to prescribe preventative medications to asymptomatic patients and increased adherence to single-disease guidelines; secondly, outlines the harms associated with polypharmacy, including medication errors, pill burden and side effects; thirdly, describes approaches to deprescribing and reviews trials of deprescribing (of which there are very few); fourthly, explores the barriers and facilitators of deprescribing; and finally, suggests recommendations for clinical practice and research.  

I am undertaking a Master in Public Health at the University of Cardiff which I due to complete in December 2016.  I have developed and validated a new patient reported outcome measure (PROM) of treatment burden in patients with multimorbidity and their carers.  The PROM is being used as an outcome measure for the 3D study.

I took a year out of training in 2011 to work in rural primary health care clinics in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and during that year undertook a cross-sectional survey of 500 adults with known hypertension.  The main findings of the study were that two thirds of patients had uncontrolled hypertension and half of participants felt they did not understand their hypertension well.  An interesting finding was that two-thirds of the participants were overweight or obese and, of these, only 12% perceived that they were overweight.  I returned to the clinics the following year to run a series of teaching workshops for the primary health care nurses aimed at improving patient understanding of hypertension.

I enjoy teaching and have completed the Certificate in Teaching and Learning for Health Professionals (TLHP).


I enjoy small group teaching and I am involved with teaching consultation skills to undergraduate medical students.  I have completed the Certificate in Teaching and Learning for Health Professionals (TLHP).


  • Multimorbidity
  • Long term conditions
  • Primary Health Care
  • health beliefs
  • questionnaire
  • polypharmacy
  • deprescribing


  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Polypharmacy


  • Quantitative and Qualitative
  • questionnaire



Bristol Medical School (PHS)

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