Frances trained in medicine at the University of Cambridge and King's College Hospital, London, and went on to become a general practitioner in Stockton-on-Tees. While working as a GP she undertook her PhD at the University of Durham, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, and was a founder member of the Northern Primary Care Research Network. Frances joined the University of Warwick in 1998 and became founding Director of the Warwick West-Midlands Primary Care Research Network and developed her research interest in the impact of technology on perceptions of health and the experience of health care. In 2003 she was awarded a Department of Health National Career Scientist Award to develop a programme of research on Complexity and Health. Frances teaches research methods to students and health professionals. She was Director of Research Degrees for Warwick Medical School from 2009 to 2013. Since 2009 she has been Board Member, Northern Partner representative and has designed and led teaching for the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa. From 2012 she has led the Social Science and Systems in Health research unit at Warwick Medical School.
Frances uses research methods from social science and health science and has developed the use of mixed methods research methods for health. This includes work with complexity scientists from disciplines including mathematics, statistics and economics. Her research focuses on the impact of medical technology and information and communication technology on lay experience of health and health care, and on the experience of living with long-term conditions, and on the social and ethical dimensions of complex decision making in health care.