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 HS&DR > News & Events

Patient safety assessed

30 November 2011

Two new studies funded by the NIHR SDO programme are assessing patient safety in hospitals and the ambulance services.

Around ten per cent of patients are harmed whilst in hospital and approximately one in 300 die from adverse events such as infections acquired in hospital. This slows the recovery of patients and costs the NHS £3.5 billion each year.

The Ambulance Service report fewer incidents than other healthcare sectors and there is currently little research into patient safety relating to the services. The scale of the issue is therefore unclear. Understandably, The NHS is keen to improve patient safety through the implementation of new improvement programmes.

Research, led by Professor Martin Kitchener of the Cardiff Business School, will consider the ways in which the outcomes of patient safety programmes vary according to organisational context. Past research has shown that the impact of interventions can differ between hospitals due to organisational factors such as the priorities of managers.

Using case studies in seven hospitals, the researchers will examine the outcomes of three interventions: improving leadership, reducing infection rates and implementing surgical checklists.

“Patient safety is an increasing concern,” commented Professor Kitchener. “Our research will enable stakeholders to develop interventions that are more likely to succeed at improving patient safety across the NHS.” View the project details

A second project, led by Professor Matthew Cooke from the University of Warwick, is considering patient safety within ambulance services.

“There is less data available for patient safety within ambulance services, “said Professor Cooke. “ Our research aims to fill the gaps in existing research and inform future policies and research.”
The researchers will firstly conduct a systematic review and will then look at documents and reports from ambulance services and interview ambulance service staff to discover the existing safety culture and processes.  They will examine the perceptions and experiences of stakeholders and user representatives regarding incident reporting, factors that encourage or discourage reporting, and interventions to improve patient safety. The team will also look at gaps that exist in the evidence base and where new research may be of benefit and together with key personnel from the ambulance service suggest priorities for future policy. View the project details

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The NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme is managed by the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC). NETSCC is part of the University of Southampton funded by the NIHR, with specific contributions from the CSO in Scotland and NISCHR in Wales and the HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland.

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