Helen Ashdown

Janet Vaughan Tutor in Clinical Medicine (Somerville); General Practitioner; Clinical Lecturer, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences

Dr Helen Ashdown is a GP and clinical researcher based in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.

Helen completed her pre-clinical training at Cambridge, before moving to Oxford for her clinical studies and post-graduate training and DPhil in academic general practice. She is now an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care in Oxford. Her principal research interests are in respiratory disease and diagnosis in primary care, particularly the use of medical devices for diagnosis and monitoring. She also has longstanding interests in infection and child health, particularly infant feeding. Her current research uses information from large linked datasets collected from routine primary care consultations, and diagnostic prospective observational studies of novel medical technologies in primary and ambulatory care.

Helen works part-time as a GP at 19 Beaumont Street surgery in Oxford, where she is the Respiratory Lead GP.

At Somerville, Helen is the lead tutor for Clinical Medicine (Undergraduate Years 4-6 and Graduate Entry Years 2-4) and leads the team of tutors delivering clinical medicine tutorials, as well as having responsibility for pastoral care of students during their clinical years. She is passionate about teaching medicine and helping students to thrive during their time at Somerville.


1. Patel S, Dickinson S, Morris K, Ashdown HF, Chalmers JD. A descriptive cohort study of withdrawal from inhaled corticosteroids in COPD patients. Primary Care Resp J 2022;32:25. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41533-022-00288-6.

2. Ashdown HF, Smith M, McFadden E, Pavord ID, Butler CC, Bafadhel M. Blood eosinophils to guide inhaled maintenance therapy in a primary care COPD population. ERJ Open Res 2021; 8(1):00606-2021. doi: 10.1183/23120541.00606-2021.

3. Smith MC, Ashdown HF, Sheppard JP, Butler CC, Bankhead C. Statin prescription in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and risk of exacerbations: a retrospective cohort study in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. BMJ Open 2021; 11(12):e050757 doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-050757.

4. Frazer JS, Barnes GE, Woodcock V, Flanagan E, Littlewood T, Stevens RJ, Fleming S and Ashdown HF. Variability in body temperature in healthy adults and in patients receiving chemotherapy: prospective observational cohort study. J Med Eng Technol 2019; 43(5):323-33 doi: 10.1080/03091902.2019.1667446

5. Ashdown H, Steiner M. Delivering high value therapies in COPD: the secret is in the marketing. Eur Respir J 2019; 53(4): 1900215 doi: 10.1183/13993003.00215-2019.

6. Abel L, Dakin HA, Roberts N, Ashdown HF, Butler CC, Hayward G, Van den Bruel A, Turner PJ and Yang Y. Is stratification testing for treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations cost-effective in primary care? An early cost-utility analysis. International J Technol Assess Health Care 2019; 35(2):116-125. doi: 10.1017/S0266462318003707

7. Moore A, Ashdown HF, Shinkins B, Roberts NW, Grant CC, Lasserson DS and Harnden A. Clinical characteristics of pertussis-associated cough: a diagnostic systematic review and meta-analysis. Chest 2017; 152(2):353-367.

8. Fisher RF, Croxson CH, Ashdown HF, Hobbs FR. GP views on strategies to cope with increasing workload: a qualitative study. Br J Gen Pract 2017; 67 (655): e148-e156. doi: 10.3399/bjgp17X688861.

9. Croxson CH, Ashdown HF, Hobbs FR. GPs’ perceptions of workload in England: a qualitative interview study. Br J Gen Pract 2017; 67 (655): e138-e147. doi: 10.3399/bjgp17X688849.

10. Ashdown H and Harnden A (editors). BMJ 10 minute consultations: Primary Care. BPP (London) 2016.

11. Heath L and Ashdown HF. Ask the expert: electronic cigarettes. Innovait 2016 DOI: 10.1177/1755738016654935

12. Ashdown HF, Raisanen U, Wang K, Räisänen U, Ziebland S, Harnden A, for the ARCHIE investigators. Prescribing antibiotics to ‘at-risk’ children with influenza-like illness in primary care: qualitative study. BMJ Open 2016;6:e011497

13. Moore A, Ashdown HF, Harnden A. Pertussis has low prevalence in adults with acute cough and is difficult to distinguish clinically from other causes. Evidence Based Medicine 2016. 21(3) doi: 10.1136/ebmed-2015-110353.

14. Fisher R, Ashdown H, Brettell R, McCartney D. Backgrounds and aspirations of primary care academic clinical fellows. Education for Primary Care 2015;26(6), 444-445. doi: 10.1080/14739879.2015.1101859.

15. Fisher RFR, Ashdown HF, Brettell R, McCartney D. Re: UK academic general practice and primary care. BMJ 2015;351:h4164

16. Ashdown H, McCartney D, Roberts N, Stevens R, Pavord S, Butler CC, Bafadhel M. Inflammatory biomarkers as a predictor of frequency of exacerbations in COPD: a systematic review of biomarkers applicable to primary care. PROSPERO 2015: CRD42015016879.

17. Gill PJ, Ashdown HF, Wang K, Heneghan C, Roberts NW, Harnden A, and Mallett S. Identification of children at risk of influenza-related complications in primary and ambulatory care: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Resp Med 2015 3:139-49. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(14)70252-8.

18. Ashdown HF, Fleming S, Spencer EA, Thompson MJ, and Stevens RJ. Diagnostic accuracy study of three alcohol breathalysers marketed for sale to the public. BMJ Open 2014;4:e005811. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005811.

19. Ashdown HF, Ho LP, Haynes JE. Lumps, bumps and diagnostic stumps: a case report. BJGP 2013;63:663-664.

20. Nohavicka L, Ashdown HF, Kelly DK. Determining immunisation status of children from history: a diagnostic accuracy study. BMJ Open 2013;3:e002822. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002822.

21. Ashdown HF, D’Souza N, Karim D, Stevens RJ, Huang A, and Harnden A. Pain over speed bumps in diagnosis of acute appendicitis: diagnostic accuracy study. BMJ 2012;345:e8012. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e8012.

22. Davis H, Mant D, Scott C, Lasserson D, and Rose PW. Relative impact of clinical evidence and over-the-counter prescribing on topical antibiotic use for acute infective conjunctivitis. BJGP 2009;59:897-900.

23. Davis H, Kennedy S, Prowse A. Endometriosis. In: Schwab M, editor. Encyclopedia of Cancer. 2nd ed. Springer, 2008.

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