Improving patient safety

Health news

A new research group co-created by the University of Leeds and Bradford hospitals will focus on addressing patient safety challenges within the health and care system.

The Yorkshire and Humber Patient Safety Research Collaboration (YHPSRC) is a new joint venture between the University and Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTHFT).

Along with five new and existing PRSCs across England, it will conduct research to address strategic patient safety challenges within the health and care system. 

By working collaboratively, we can help achieve the continuous improvement aims set out in the NHS Patient Safety Strategy.

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation

These collaborations will carry out research to improve patient safety, looking at topics such as service delivery models, patient safety behaviours, clinical decision-making, and transitions between care settings.

Professor Nick Plant, Leeds’ Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, said: “Improving patient safety is a top priority for all those involved in healthcare. By working collaboratively - bringing together experts in the field and patients themselves - we can help achieve the continuous improvement aims set out in the NHS Patient Safety Strategy.” 

The team was awarded £5.8m by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to set up one of the new PSRCs.

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. 

Yorkshire and Humber PSRC Director Rebecca Lawton, Professor in Psychology of Healthcare in Leeds’ School of Psychology, 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.” 

Meeting patients’ needs

To deliver this ambitious programme of research, the team will work with a wide range of partners including academics from the universities of Nottingham, York and Oxford. 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. 

Dr Maxwell Mclean, Chairman of Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust (BTHFT), 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, with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting that one 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. 

Ongoing partnership

The national funding is an evolution of the current NIHR Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC) scheme which is a collaboration between the University and BTHFT. Previous research undertaken through the scheme has already had an impact on NHS frontline services. NIHR funding over the past five years has supported the team to: 

  • Develop an intervention to reduce delays in diagnosing cancer in primary care
  • Demonstrate how people with learning disabilities experience poorer patient safety outcomes in hospital
  • Work with older patients, doctors, nurses and pharmacists to develop tools that support safer use of medicines
  • Design tools that help healthcare staff to make more accurate decisions about which patients in their care are most poorly
  • Design and evaluate training and resources to reduce staff burnout and help retain staff  

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.” 

Visit the website for more information about how to get involved in the work of the Yorkshire and Humber collaboration.  

Further information 

Picture: Adobe stock

For media enquiries contact University of Leeds press officer Lauren Ballinger via