Willie is a professor of primary care diagnostics at the university. Within this, his main topic area is cancer diagnosis, though he also researches chronic fatigue and other relevant primary care topics.
In cancer, Willie‘s main expertise is in identifying and quantifying the risk of cancer in patients presenting to their general practitioner with a particular symptom. He created the CAPER research unit within the University of Bristol, initially funded by the NHS research practice scheme, but now moved to the University of Exeter, and largely funded by a NIHR programme grant, DISCOVERY, and through the Policy Research Unit for Cancer Awareness, Screening and Early Diagnosis. Willie manages and provides leadership to the five current research staff, and three PhD students, with the total varying between three and six over recent years. He is also the clinical lead in the 2012-5 update of the NICE referral guidelines for suspected cancer.