About us

People with multiple health problems (multimorbidity) often find healthcare difficult to navigate and coordinate, and we need to find new ways of organising care to improve quality of life while minimising treatment burden. General practice and primary care have a central role in health and social care and particularly in the care of people with multimorbidity. This is a growing area of research interest and we have a number of projects under way studying multimorbidity, particularly within the older population. Bruce Guthrie (Professor of General Practice) and Stewart Mercer (Professor of Primary Care and Multimorbidity) lead this group.


Head and shoulders of Bruce Guthrie

Professor Bruce Guthrie Biography

Bruce Guthrie is Professor of General Practice at the University of Edinburgh where he carries  out applied research to translate basic and clinical research into effective and reliable clinical practice. He works clinically as a GP at the Mackenzie Medical Centre in Edinburgh. He was previously a Medical Research Council Health Services Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, a National Institute for Health Research post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Dundee, a 2006/7 Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow in Healthcare Policy at the University of California San Francisco where he was also a Visiting Professor in 2010, and Professor of Primary Care Medicine at the University of Dundee. He is a member of several grant panels (currently Wellcome and MRC), contributes to undergraduate and postgraduate medical teaching, and supervises and examines MSc and PhD students in Edinburgh and other universities. As well as conducting research, he serves or has served on a number of National Health Service advisory bodies, including the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the Quality and Outcomes Framework Indicators Advisory Committee (which recommended which quality indicators should be included in the UK primary care pay for performance programme) where he chaired the Thresholds, Review and Retiral Sub-committee, and the Scottish Government Polypharmacy Working Group. He was the chair of the guideline development group of the NICE Multimorbidity Clinical Guideline published in late 2016.  Bruce is the director of the new £20 million Advanced Care Research Centre.

Research summary

Bruce's main research interests are the quality and safety of healthcare, particularly in primary care,  and are currently focused on prescribing quality and safety, multimorbidity and the organisation of healthcare. He is a mixed methods researcher and collaborates with researchers from a wide range of disciplines and institutions. The methods he uses include quantitative analysis of large, routine datasets; cluster randomised trials with mixed methods parallel process evaluations; and qualitative analysis of interview and observational data. His recent and current work includes the development and evaluation of interventions to improve polypharmacy, examination of the implications of competing mortality risk for single disease risk prediction, and the examination of the applicability of trial evidence to clinical populations. 

Professor Bruce Guthrie's profile page

Professor Stewart Mercer

Photo of Professor Stewart Mercer


Stewart is Professor of Primary Care and Multimorbidity at the University of Edinburgh, and a General Practitioner at Penicuik Medical Practice. He entered medicine as a mature student at Bristol University after an early career in basic science including PhD studies on obesity at the MRC Dunn Nutrition Unit and Darwin College Cambridge, and post-doctoral research on nutritional biochemistry at the Metabolic Research Laboratory, University of Oxford. After qualifying as a GP, he gained a series of Fellowships (Higher Professional Training Fellow in General Practice; Health Services Research Training Fellow CSO; Senior Primary Care Research Fellow CSO) which allowed him to combine clinical work as a GP (50%) with academic primary care research (50%) from 1998-2007. He was Professor of Primary Care Research at the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 2007-2008, and Chair of Primary Care Research at Glasgow University (2008-2018). He joined the Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh in January 2019.

Stewart has been the Director of the Scottish School of Primary Care since 2014. SSPC is a virtual school comprising nine Universities with significant primary care research output. He has been Adjunct Professor of Primary Care Research at the Chinese University of Hong Kong since 2008 and Honorary Professor at the University of Manchester since 2019. He was a Visiting Professor at McMasters University in 2018 and the University of Melbourne in 2012. He was a founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Comorbidity, and a previous Director of Quality at the Royal College of General Practitioners in Scotland. Responsibilities at the University of Edinburgh include Co-Convenor of Athena Swan (Deanery of Molecular, Genetics, and Population Health Sciences (from April 2020), Co-Director of Telescot, and Research Lead for the Centre for Homelessness and Inclusive Health. As a core member of the new £20 million Advanced Care Research Centre, Stewart is Deputy Director of the PhD Programme (for CMVM) of the Academy of Leadership and Training, and work-package lead for new models of care.

Scottish School of Primary Care website

Telescot website

Centre for Homelessness and Inclusion Health website

Research Summary

Stewart is recognised internationally for his research on multimorbidity, empathy, and the inverse care law. He is committed to research that includes deprived and under-served communities. He has a particular interest in mental-physical multimorbidity, and non-pharmacological interventions such as mindfulness and compassion-based approaches. 

Professor Stewart Mercer's Profile Page

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