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Personal profile

Research Interests

My research focuses on how sociological theory and qualitative research methods can be combined with bioethical frameworks to improve healthcare services. I am particularly interested in how decision-making occurs in practice in the NHS. Using this sociological bioethics lens, my research identifies where existing policies and guidelines on decision-making require re-evaluating to facilitate improved support for patients and staff making healthcare decisions. By examining decision-making empirically, using qualitative methods, my research also explores the important role of the social sciences in the development of bioethical theories that are used in everyday medical practice.

External Connections and Partnerships

Outside of the university I am the Chair of the Committee on Ethical Issues in Medicine for the Royal College of Physicians and a Trustee of the Institute of Medical Ethics. I write a column for the Independent, and all my pieces can be viewed at: https://www.independent.co.uk/author/alexis-paton


My PhD (Sociology, Newcastle University, 2015) research examined how female cancer patients make difficult decisions about preserving their fertility during cancer treatment. I hold an MA in Philosophy from the University of British Columbia (2010), and a BSc in Biology from the University of King’s College (2007).

Contact Details

email: a.paton@aston.ac.uk

twitter: @dralexispaton


 Prior to joining Aston in April 2020, I was a Lecturer in Social Sciences Applied to Health at the University of Leicester. I have also held positions as a Research Fellow at the Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham, as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre at Newcastle University, as a lecturer for Yale University’s Summer Institute in Bioethics, and as a research assistant at the University of British Columbia. I have also been a periodic lecturer for the University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University

External positions


1 Nov 2019 → …


1 Oct 2019 → …


  • HM Sociology
  • Sociology of Health
  • Medical Sociology
  • Healthcare Improvement
  • social determinants of health and illness
  • health inequalities
  • BJ Ethics
  • Bioethics
  • Medical Ethics
  • Medical Ethics education

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Research Output

Ethical road map through the covid-19 pandemic

Fritz, Z., Huxtable, R., Ives, J., Paton, A., Slowther, A. M. & Wilkinson, D., 21 May 2020, In : BMJ. 369, m2033.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

Open Access
Open Access
  • Open Access
  • About time: how time influences and facilitates patient autonomy in the clinical encounter

    Paton, A., 8 Jan 2019, In : Monash Bioethics Review. 36, p. pages68–85

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Open Access