Martin is Professor of Health Services Research at the University of Cambridge. Previously he was Professor of General Practice in Manchester from 1992 to 2009, where he was Director of the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre. Martin was a practising GP for 35 years, his research focusing on finding and evaluating ways of improving quality of care in the NHS. In 2003, Martin was appointed CBE for services to medicine.

Martin loves opera (especially 19th century tragedies), hill walking and rather too late in life he is attempting to learn to play golf.