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UK’s largest study into the quality of nursing care to be launched

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The University of Stirling is to lead the UK’s largest ever study into patient experience and the delivery of frontline health care.

Improving Patient Experience of Care (IPEC) will involve around 6000 patients and almost 1000 nurses and other health professionals over a two year period.

IPEC will draw on the collective expertise of academics at Stirling, Dundee and Glasgow Caledonian universities.

The study’s principal researcher is Professor Brian Williams, Director of the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals Research Unit, which has academic bases at both Stirling and Glasgow Caledonian universities.

Professor Williams said: “There have been a number of major initiatives in recent years designed to help frontline healthcare staff improve the care experience. Our study aims to evaluate whether these initiatives are working for nurses and patients, and importantly, what can be done by the NHS to support staff in improving the care experience.”

The first health board to participate in the study will be NHS Tayside.  Hospital patients on 30 surgical and medical wards will be asked to fill out a questionnaire during their stay, with a follow up questionnaire one month after. Questions will cover a number of issues such as standards of care, ward environment, pain control and wellbeing.

The study will also ask nurses about their own wellbeing, their perceptions of the standard of care on wards and whether they think their working culture supports good caring.

Professor Martyn Jones of the University of Dundee, who will lead the NHS Tayside arm of the study, said: “To help health professionals to deliver good quality care, we need to understand how the care climate in each ward affects staff well-being and care provision.  This study will capture patient and staff experiences of the effect of these initiatives and identify what works best.”

NHS Tayside Nurse Director, Dr Margaret McGuire, said: “NHS Tayside has tested and introduced a variety of initiatives aimed at improving patient experience of care and outcomes, and we are delighted to work with Professors Williams and Jones on this important study.”

The project, which is funded by the Scottish Government’s Chief Nursing Officer, will be launched in NHS Tayside on Monday 11 February.

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