Bradford researchers to play key role in pioneering patient safety project

A pioneering national research project has been awarded to researchers from the Yorkshire Quality and Safety Research Group based at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTHFT), and the universities of Leeds, Nottingham and Birmingham.

The research, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will develop better ways to support patients and families harmed during their care.

Despite the huge drive to improve NHS safety over recent years, there is still a significant level of harm to patients, with long-term costs estimated to be £65 million in the UK alone.

The project’s lead researcher, Dr Jane O’Hara, who is based at Bradford Institute for Health Research (BIHR), hosted by BTHFT, said: “We want to improve care for patients and, to do this, we must improve how we learn from past care failures. Patients that have been harmed, and their families, have knowledge about care failures that we must get better at learning from.

“We plan to work with patients, families and healthcare staff to design guidance for NHS trusts, and the national independent investigations agency for healthcare – the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch.

“This guidance will help healthcare services to work sensitively and transparently with patients and families after serious safety events, to learn together about what has gone wrong, and what might help prevent future recurrences.”

The project will run for just over three years, starting this autumn.

Researchers hope it will help provide answers to important questions that we currently have little evidence for, including:

  • What is the experience of patients and families who have been harmed during their care, or have been involved in a safety investigation?
  • What do healthcare services currently do to support patients and families in safety investigations?
  • What are the best ways to involve patients and families in safety investigations, and what support do staff need to do this well?

The ultimate aim of the research is to improve the experience of patients and families in serious incident investigations, and improve the learning from these investigations.

Dr Kevin Stewart, Medical Director at the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, said: “Many patients and families report feeling excluded from patient safety investigations, which adds to the harm that has been caused and leads to a lack of trust in the healthcare system.”

He added: “This research will help us develop approaches to investigations which ensure that patients and families are engaged and treated as respected partners throughout the investigation process.”

For more information you can contact Jane.O’ To find out more about the Yorkshire Quality and Safety Research Group, visit their website or follow them on Twitter @yqsrdotorg.


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Note to Editors:


  1. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)


The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation’s largest funder of health and care research. The NIHR:

  • Funds, supports and delivers high quality research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care
  • Engages and involves patients, carers and the public in order to improve the reach, quality and impact of research
  • Attracts, trains and supports the best researchers to tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future
  • Invests in world-class infrastructure and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services
  • Partners with other public funders, charities and industry to maximise the value of research to patients and the economy

The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation    through research, and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. In addition to its national role, the NIHR supports applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries, using UK aid from the UK government.

  1. Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust:

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is responsible for providing hospital services for the people of Bradford and communities across Yorkshire. We serve a core population of around 500,000 and provide specialist services for 1.1 million people.

Our 5,500 staff work over several sites, including Bradford Royal Infirmary, which provides the majority of inpatient services, and St Luke’s Hospital, which predominantly provides outpatient and rehabilitation services. We also manage local community hospitals at Westwood Park, Westbourne Green, and Eccleshill.

In early 2017, a new £28 million wing opened at Bradford Royal Infirmary, part of a £75m investment to improve patient care across our hospitals over a five-year period. It provides world-class facilities for elderly care, children’s services, a state-of-the-art intensive care unit with increased single-room provision and a retail concourse.

The new wing is a continuation of our work to improve patient experience after our new £2 million neonatal unit officially opened in January 2015. Our maternity services were recently shortlisted for the Royal College of Midwives’ (RCM) Midwifery Service of the Year Award, recognising excellence and innovation in the provision of maternity care.

In 2017, we also completed a £2m refurbishment of our Emergency Department (ED) as part of an ambitious vision to create a more efficient acute medicine service for the people of Bradford. It has been designed to provide a slicker and more efficient service, with faster senior clinical involvement at an early stage in the patient pathway.

As a teaching hospital, we are at the forefront of education and development in healthcare, and have an excellent reputation for research performance. We are one of the leading centres in conducting applied research in the country, particularly in quality and safety, elderly care and rehabilitation.

The Trust is home to the Bradford Institute for Health Research (BIHR) where researchers have led the development, validation and implementation of the award-winning Bradford Electronic Frailty Index (eFI) which helps calculate an elderly person’s risk of disability, impairment, falls and complications of chronic diseases, as well as their diminishing independence and capability. This is now being used by 98 per cent of all GPs across the country.

Our award-winning Ophthalmology department is home to numerous worldwide clinical trials taking the lead in eye care research and we are one of only three sites in the United Kingdom to be enlisted in the Perioperative Enhanced Recovery Hip Fracture Care of Patients with Dementia (PERFECTED) study, which will investigate how the NHS can introduce better standards of care to improve outcomes for people with dementia.

The Trust has its own Bradford Hospitals Charity:

Follow us on Twitter: @BTHFT

For more information please visit