The workforce is responsible for the day-to-day delivery of patient safety and the provision of service quality.  It operates within an organisational culture that is shaped by a complex array of factors at the national, organisational and unit level that in turn are influenced by professional norms and leadership styles.  The way in which the workforce is managed has major consequences for the service quality and for patient safety.  It is therefore essential to explore the issues that affect workforce attitudes and behaviour.

The Programme

The Workforce Programme is currently working on a number of projects to investigate how patient safety and service quality can be improved through attention to workforce issues.  At present these involve:

  • Reducing high levels of bullying and harassment of trust staff
  • Evaluating an intervention to improve the quality of staff service
  • Improving communication between trust staff

In developing a research programme a central aim is to draw upon research from outside the health sector to complement evidence from within as a basis for interventions designed to improve patient safety and service quality.  The proposed research strategy will involve the following four phases:

  • A thorough review of the relevant literature both inside and outside the health sector
  • A series of detailed diagnoses in the agreed research settings (KCH) to identify and describe current practice and to provide some initial benchmarks with respect to current practices and behaviour as well as indicators of patient safety and service quality
  • Specific interventions will be negotiated and implemented with (usually) an external change agent in the role of action researcher and the active engagement of participant researchers drawn from within the workforce
  • Interventions will be evaluated on a longitudinal basis, using control groups where possible, to test the new concepts and the feasibility of wider dissemination within the health service community