Full title: Exploring the experience of patients and carers raising concerns and complaints about the safety of their care experiences in acute mental health settings

How we involve patients and their families in ensuring the safety of their care is of growing interest to academics, policy makers and health professionals. There is a growing recognition that patients and families can be an important part of supporting safe care through activities such as self-management, raising concerns, and intervening directly to prevent harm (O’Hara & Isden, 2013; Lawton & Armitage, 2012).

Mental health services have a long history of involving service users in a wide range of activities. However, much less is known about how service users might help mental health services improve and manage the safety of care provided. This studentship is to undertake research within a team of leading experts exploring the involvement of patients and families in patient safety. The holder of the studentship will undertake a research project exploring the ability of, and impact from, patients and carers raising concerns and complaints about the safety of their care experiences in acute mental health settings.

Working with Professor John Baker and Dr Jane O’Hara at the University of Leeds and colleagues at Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust and LYPFT, holders of our prestigious PhD studentships will work within the dynamic research teams at Yorkshire and Humber PSTRC, which is at the forefront of patient safety research providing nationally and internationally important patient safety research.

The studentship will be based across the School of Healthcare, University of Leeds, and the Bradford Institute for Health Research. Yorkshire and Humber PSTRC is a collaboration between the Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust and the Universities of Leeds and Bradford. Or mission is to deliver research to make healthcare safer.

Our research focusses on four themes that recognise the central role of patients and their carers, the importance of creating workplaces that people want to work in, the safe use of medicines, and the exciting potential for digital technology to improve safety. Dr Jane O’Hara leads the theme on involving patients and families, and is co-supervisor of this studentship.

You will be enthusiastic, organised and motivated with experience in, or knowledge of mental health services. You will have a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper second class honours degree, or postgraduate degree in psychology, social science or a health-related subject. Importantly, you will be committed to fully engaging with patients, carers and staff to conduct high-quality research and keen to develop your research skills.

Candidate whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study, the Faculty minimum requirements are:

• British Council IELTS – score of 6.5 overall, with no element less than 6.0
• TOEFL iBT – overall score of 92 with the listening and reading element no less than 21, writing element no less than 22 and the speaking element no less than 23.

How to apply:
To apply for this scholarship applicants should complete a Faculty Scholarship Application form (available at: http://medhealth.leeds.ac.uk/download/3551/fmh_scholarship_application_2017_18) and send this alongside a full academic CV, degree transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) and degree certificates to the Faculty Graduate School fmhgrad@leeds.ac.uk

We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these references on your behalf, directly to fmhgrad@leeds.ac.uk by no later than Thursday 21 June 2018

If you have already applied for other scholarships using the Faculty Scholarship Application form you do not need to complete this form again. Instead you should email fmhgrad@leeds.ac.uk to inform us you would like to be considered for this scholarship project.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to

If you would like to know more about this studentship or the work of the Yorkshire and Humber PSTRC, please contact: Dr Jane O’Hara (01274 383692), or Professor John Baker (0113 343 1271).

Closing date for this studentship is Thursday 21 June 2018.


NIHR Yorkshire & Humber Patient Safety Translational Research Centre, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and School of Healthcare

A PhD studentship is available for UK and EU citizens only. The studentship will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £14,057 for up to 3 years, subject to satisfactory progress and will cover the UK/EU tuition fees.


O’Hara, J. and Isden, R., 2013. Identifying risks and monitoring safety: the role of patients and citizens. London: The Health Foundation.

Lawton, R. and Armitage, G., 2012. The role of the patient in clinical safety. London: Health Foundation.