Professor David Hughes
Professor Emeritus (Human & Health Sciences)
College of Human and Health Sciences

Professor David Hughes has worked in health policy, medical sociology and socio-legal studies. He is based in the Department of Public Health & Policy Studies at Swansea, and previously held appointments at the Universities of Dundee, Oxford and Nottingham. After a career which has focused mainly on studies in the British NHS, Hughes has developed an interest in international comparative research. He has published on the universal coverage health care reforms of Thailand and Turkey and was a member of the team that recently undertook the 10-year assessment of the Thai universal coverage scheme. David is a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and has a PhD from Swansea University. 

Areas of Expertise

  • health policy
  • purchaser/provider reforms
  • NHS contracts
  • universal coverage healthcare
  • medical sociology
  • PPI. engagement


  1. Hughes, D., Jordan, M., Logan, P., Willson, A., Snelgrove, S., Storey, M., Vaismoradi, M., & Jordan, S. ‘Looking for the “little things’: a multi-disciplinary approach to medicines’ monitoring for older people using the ADRe resource. Geriatrics (Switzerland), 5(79)
  2. Hughes, D. & Doheny, S. Constructing ‘exceptionality’: a neglected aspect of NHS rationing. Sociology of Health and Illness, 41(8), 1600-1617.
  3. Hughes, D. & Doheny, S. Doing evidence-based medicine? How NHS managers ration high-cost drugs. Social Science & Medicine, 235, 112304
  4. Jordan, S., Banner, T., Gabe-Walters, M., Mikhail, J., Panes, G., Round, J., Snelgrove, S., Storey, M., & Hughes, D. Nurse-led medicines’ monitoring in care homes, implementing the Adverse Drug Reaction (ADRe) Profile improvement initiative for mental health medicines: An observational and interview study. PLOS ONE, 14(9), e0220885
  5. Supprasert, W., Hughes, D., & Khajornchaikul, P. Roles and capacities of Thai family development centres. Journal of Children's Services, 13(3/4), 110-121.

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  • SHHM14 Introduction to Research and Study Skills

    This module aims to provide students with the necessary generic skills to undertake research successfully, including organisation and time management skills, handling relationships with supervisors and research personnel (informants, gatekeepers etc), use of bibliographic sources, conduct of literature searches, use of internet, communicating research results, making oral presentations and writing for different audiences and purposes.

  • SHHM16 Ethics and Philosophy of Social Research

    This module will address the ethics of conducting social research. The discussion of research ethics will include, but not be limited to, informed consent and how to protect the anonymity of research participants. Discussions will also address the limits of researchers' obligations to protect anonymity and confidentiality, along with taking a more detailed look at the process of applying for university research ethics approval. Philosophical problems associated with conducting social research will be explored - asking questions such as 'How is our understanding of others limited? ''Are my research findings objective?¿.

  • SHHM34 Case Studies in Applied Social Research: Social Work

    The module examines key issues in research on social work and social care by presenting a series of case studies illustrating various research methods applied in these areas.

  • SHQM40 Social, Cultural and Economic Context of Health

    In this compulsory module students will develop a critical understanding and appreciation of the wider context of health care management. The social, cultural and economic context within which health and illness are defined and experienced and how these impact and influence the organisation and financing of health care and health systems will be critically explored.


  • Untitled (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Sue Jordan
  • An exploration of emotional labour and emotion work in emergency pre-hospital care (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Michael Coffey
  • Exploring the relationship between patient safety, patient satifaction and quality assurance within Kuwait Healthcare (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr David Rea
  • Challenges in consolidating and protecting universal health care coverage in Malaysia. (awarded 2020)

    Other supervisor: Dr Alison Hann
    Other supervisor: Dr Gillian Spedding
    Other supervisor: Dr David Rea
  • Preparations for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and implications for dental services and the dental workforce in Thailand’s northeastern border provinces. (awarded 2020)

    Other supervisor: Prof Sue Jordan
  • The Role of Organisational Culture in Change Initiatives: A Study Conducted in the Saudi Public Healthcare Sector (awarded 2019)

    Other supervisor: Dr David Rea
  • 'Comparative Study of the Implementation of Regional Health Plans in Oman' (awarded 2019)

    Other supervisor: Dr David Rea
  • 'Dual practice of medical professionals in public hospitals in south-east Nigeria: An economic and policy analysis' (awarded 2019)

    Other supervisor: Prof Ceri Phillips


It is my research on Thailand’s universal healthcare coverage reforms, rather than my UK studies, which has had the most impact in recent years.  The Thai universal coverage scheme (UCS) brought low-cost healthcare to 47 million Thai people.  My fieldwork-based study of the implementation of the reforms in the relatively-poor north-eastern region was one of the few empirical studies in English-language journals, and helped demonstrate the feasibility of UHC reforms in a lower-middle income country to an international readership.  My work was cited in the WHO World Health Report 2008, Global Healthwatch 3 (Alternative World Health Report) 2011, the India Health Report 2010, and featured as one of two case studies in the launch document for Bill and Belinda Gates’ Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health Reform.  It is available on the Joint Learning Network’s ‘resources’ webpages, and has been used for UHC workshops in India.   The research had highlighted a problem of ‘equity of distribution in local healthcare systems whereby money intended for prevention and promotion work was being diverted to curative hospital projects.  This finding led the Health Insurance System Research Office (HISRO) to commission further research on the issue and to a policy of ring-fenced budgets for primary care units. Subsequently I was asked to assist in background research for the implementation strand of the Thai government's 10 year assessment of the UCS scheme.  I co-authored the implementation (TOR 3) report and helped in the preparation for the overall 10 year assessment report, which later fed into the 2013-15 Health Sector Plan.  The 10-year assessment report attracted considerable international  interest, and led WHO and Rockefeller Foundation to commend the Thai UCS reforms as a model that should be considered by other Asian nations.