Our Approach

The Unit has adopted a “workstream” approach.  At the core of this approach is a commitment to making a real and meaningful contribution to the solution or amelioration of a problem regarded as significant to patients, members of the public, or NHS staff.  The Unit screens all potential issues according to 5 key criteria.  If adopted then the Unit makes a commitment to pursuing the problem over a number of research projects and period of time until meaningful impact is achieved (at minimum a contribution to new clinical guidelines).  This approach ensures that the Unit does not engage in single one-off research projects that may result in academic publications and grant income for the HEI but make little if any contribution to practice.  Our current strategic focus means that we are largely but not exclusively focussed on the following clinical areas: stroke, mental health, maternal & child health, urogenital disorders, cancer and pre-hospital emergency.

Relationship to Policy: 

All Unit research operates in support of either broad or more specific priorities expressed in ongoing policy.   At a more broad level all research supports the objectives of the NHS Quality Strategy:

  • Effective: The Interventions programme supports the development of effective practice across the NMAHP professions.  The Quality and Delivery of Care programme focusses on enhancing delivery of these to maximise reach into the population; the programme also examines issues surrounding the quality of current delivery including person-centred care and the optimum models of delivery of services.  The Unit also supports a significant number of Cochrane systematic reviews that highlight current best practice.
  • Patient-centred: The Unit is currently evaluating two national initiatives to develop more person-centred care on hospital wards (Caring Behaviours Assurance System (CBAS) and Releasing Time to Care).  These are likely to be the largest and most sophisticated assessments of such interventions yet to take place in the UK. 
  • Safe: We are investigating the current quality and delivery of a range of issues in order to inform new approaches (e.g. the quality of care among the 5000 patients with psychiatric emergency delivered to hospital A&E).  In addition, we are also investigating the ways in which non-patient-centred care (including poor health care experience and lack of caring) can lead to poor health and clinical outcomes.


This includes: 1) Does the problem fall sufficiently within the domain of Nurses, Midwives or Allied Health Professionals to justify Unit involvement? 2) Is the issue sufficiently significant in terms of size, severity, costs and patient/policy priority? 3) Is it likely that the workstream could make a significant and demonstrable impact? 4) Does the Unit have the skills and resources to deliver rigorous and original research? 5) Confirmation that pursuit of this project would not replace the pursuit of another project currently needed to further the progress of another workstream.