Dr Ann Hutchinson


Research Fellow

Role at Hull York Medical School

I am a Research Fellow in the Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre and am currently involved in a number of NIHR funded research projects relating to chronic breathlessness including Breathe Well and FanFIRST.

Previously I was the principal investigator for an NIHR funded feasibility trial of a breathlessness crisis management intervention for paramedics when called out to patients with chronic breathlessness (BREATHE), which was based on my PhD research on the experience of chronic breathlessness and presentation to the emergency department. I was also co-investigator on an interview study called Understanding people’s experiences of exacerbations which was funded by AstraZeneca.

In 2019 I worked with local people and artists Anna Bean and Rob Mackay to develop a multimedia exhibition to show what it is like living with breathlessness, entitled “Bringing Breathlessness into View”. This project received funding from Hull City of Culture 2017, the Wellcome Trust and the University of Hull. This exhibition has been taken to a variety of community and health centres and also the Freedom Festival 2023 to raise awareness of this difficult symptom and to let people know what can be done to live well with it. Watch my video about the aims of the exhibition here and read the Breathlessness blog.


I have a degree in Experimental Psychology and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, both from the University of Oxford. Prior to training as a researcher, I gained 15 years of secondary school teaching experience. I was awarded a PhD in Medical Sciences from the University of Hull on chronic breathlessness and presentation to the emergency department in 2017. I am very interested in public engagement and took part in the British Science Festival 2018.


My PhD investigated the role of chronic breathlessness in emergency department presentations. This research involved a mixed methods approach including a patient survey and case note review at the Hull Royal Infirmary, followed by in-depth interviews exploring how breathlessness had triggered a presentation at the emergency department. These research findings are set in the context of a systematic review of the existing qualitative literature on the experience of breathlessness.

This research led to the development of a NIHR funded feasibility trial (BREATHE) in collaboration with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service and the Universities of York and Sheffield.

I also worked on Understanding people’s experiences of exacerbations study which explored patients’ and their carers’ experiences, expectations and understanding of COPD exacerbations before and after the emergence of COVID-19.

Additionally, I am interested in cancer-associated thrombosis and have published a qualitative sub-study of the select-d trial on the patient and carer experience of oral and injected anticoagulants and also a systematic review of the experiences of cancer patients living with venous thromboembolism.


Please see my University of Hull profile for an up-to-date list of my publications.


I collaborate with a group of researchers at the University of Leicester on qualitative work about early diagnosis of breathlessness (BreatheDEEP study) and with a research group at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust leading qualitative work on the Spiro-aid study on the use of artificial intelligence to aid the interpretation of spirometry results in primary care. I also collaborate with the IMPACCT research group at the University of Technology, Sydney.