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Today (14 Oct), the National Institute for Health Research and Care (NIHR) announced funding for six Patient Safety Research Collaborations across England.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTHFT) and the University of Leeds have been successful in attracting £5.8 million of funding to become one of these six centres: the NIHR Yorkshire and Humber Patient Safety Research Collaboration (PSRC).

Patient safety is a global priority. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that while 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.

Yorkshire and Humber PSRC Director Rebecca Lawton, Professor in Psychology of Healthcare at the University of Leeds, explained: “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.”

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.”

The research carried out by the PSRCs will address strategic patient safety challenges within the health and care system, focusing on seven strategic areas set out by NHS England.

Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, 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.”

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.”

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 funding we have received over the past five years from NIHR has supported the team:

Develop an intervention to reduce delays in diagnosing cancer in primary care https://bjgp.org/content/bjgp/72/721/e581.full.pdf;  demonstrate how people with learning disabilities experience poorer patient safety outcomes in hospital https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/bmjopen/11/5/e047102.full.pdf; and work with older patients, doctors, nurses and pharmacists to develop tools that support safer use of medicines e.g. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/bmjopen/12/3/e054279.full.pdf . We have also designed tools that help healthcare staff to make more accurate decisions about which patients in their care are most poorly https://carssresearch.org and designed and evaluated training and resources to reduce staff burnout and help retain staff e.g. https://secondvictim.co.uk

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.psrc-yh.nihr.ac.uk.

If you are a patient, carer or an interested citizen, you can join the Safety In Numbers Group (SING), work with us through our community networks or get involved as a lay leader. If you are a member of staff in a health or social care setting and you want to find out more about the work of the centre or to join one of the projects, please keep an eye on the website for opportunities for short and long-term secondments, developing and testing new solutions and training. Contact Sobia Bibi or Lucy Chapman at yqsradmin@bthft.nhs.uk