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Plan to improve safety of healthcare

Plan to improve safety of healthcare for thousands: A team of researchers has won £5.8m in funding to improve healthcare outcomes for people receiving home care.

Academics from the University of Bradford will play a leading role in the new National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Yorkshire and Humber Patient Safety Research Collaboration (PSRC).

It will be led by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Leeds. It is one of six new collaborations commissioned across England.

Dr Beth Fylan, associate professor in patient safety from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences at the University of Bradford, will lead one of four workstreams, focussed on supporting safe care in the home.

She said: “The aim of this research is to make healthcare safer. It’s all about working with patients, families and carers. When it comes to home care, people are being asked to do all sorts of things that were previously done in hospital, like administering medication, catheter management or wound dressing. We are transferring a lot of risk from formal care settings to patients’ own homes. We will be developing tools and methods to make those things safer.”

Beth will also be the Assistant Director of the PSRC. Meanwhile, Professor Udy Archibong will act as equality, diversity and inclusion champion.

What is the collaboration about?

The PSRC is set to run from 2023 to 2028 and will address strategic patient safety challenges within the health and care system, focusing on seven areas set out by NHS England in its NHS Patient Safety Strategy.

Along with the Support Safe Care in the Home research theme, the University of Bradford will play a key role in a research theme focussing on improving patient safety intelligence and understanding of patient safety challenges. This theme will be co-led by Professor Rebecca Randell from the Faculty of Health.

Chairman of BTHFT, Dr Maxwell Mclean, said: “Bradford Teaching Hospitals has been at the cutting edge of patient safety research for the last 10 years. This award is a reflection of the great talent of our researchers and the amazing support from our patients.”

Patient safety is a global priority. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that the risk of dying while travelling by aeroplane is 1 in 3 million; 1 in 300 people are estimated to die as a result of a ‘preventable medical accident while receiving health care’. Research has an important role in providing evidence-based solutions to patient safety problems across health and social care.

What are its aims?

The PSRC will develop solutions that will make care safer by supporting patients and families, changing practice, informing policy makers and regulators and guiding leaders. Further to this it will generate evidence about disparities in safety to help tackle safety inequity.

NIHR Yorkshire and Humber PSRC Director Rebecca Lawton, Professor in Psychology of Healthcare at the University of Leeds, said: “Over the last five years we have been developing innovative approaches to make our NHS safer, including involving patients more in their care, reducing burnout among staff, and designing new devices and systems. This new centre will allow us to build on our success, become a global leader in patient safety and produce solutions to new and pressing patient safety challenges.”

To deliver this ambitious programme of research, the team hosted by Bradford will work with a wide range of partners. University of Bradford will lead one of the themes of work and academics from universities of Nottingham, York and Oxford will be closely involved. Health and care organisations, charities, industry and patient groups will work with the centre to deliver research that meets the needs of patients and the service.

Chief Medical Officer of BTHFT, Dr Ray Smith, added: “This is a fantastic achievement for all involved. By bringing together leading scientists and clinicians to develop new approaches to improving the quality and safety for patients in the NHS we will make changes which have a national impact, and that’s very good news for patients.”

Building on previous success

The national funding is an evolution of the current NIHR Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC) scheme. Previous research undertaken through the scheme has already had an impact on NHS frontline services. The University of Bradford has hosted the Safe Use of Medicines theme in the PSTRC since 2017.

How can you get involved?

Over the next five years, the PSRCs will help researchers to develop and test innovations, approaches and interventions that could improve patient safety and the safety of health and care services. The funding will also enable partnerships to be built between health and care organisations, universities, local authorities, and patients and the public.

For more information about how to get involved in the work of the Yorkshire and Humber collaboration, visit: www.yhpstrc.org

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