A nurse talking with an elderly patient in a hospital bed


Theme Leads: Dr Gaby Judah and Professor Mary Wells

The behaviours of patients, carers, and healthcare professionals have an impact on safety, for example, not attending cancer screening when invited can lead to a cancer being detected later when treatment is less likely to be effective, or the inefficient deployment of healthcare staff can make care less safe, and staff more likely to become burned out.

Our work 

The theme will particularly focus on reducing inequalities in access to healthcare, through meaningful involvement of representative individuals. Through involvement of patients (particularly from under-served groups), healthcare professionals, and key stakeholders, we will co-design and test interventions which support behaviours in patients and healthcare workers to promote safety and reduce harm. We will do this through two workstreams.

Workstream A (“Behaviour change for equitable engagement with healthcare”), focuses on patient behaviours, to encourage better and more equitable engagement with healthcare to prevent avoidable harm. We will address behaviours such as increasing cancer screening uptake using novel messaging approaches, improving medication adherence using targeted and interactive interventions, and increasing attendance at medical appointments (including virtual consultations) in order to address growing waiting lists.

Workstream B (“Empowering patients and care teams to improve patient safety behaviours”), focuses on providing healthcare workers with the ability to provide safer care. This will include testing a new rostering tool to enable better matching of staff capacity and patient demand, developing interventions to address language and communication barriers, and to better communicate the needs of higher risk groups.