Research team:       

Professor Rebecca Lawton
Ruth Simms-Ellis
Vicky Padgett
Dr Jayne Marran
Dr Gillian Janes
Sarah DeBiase
Francesca Hill

Why is this study important?

 ‘Second victim’ is the term used to refer to healthcare workers who are impacted by patient safety incidents. Whilst patients and families will always be the first priority following safety incidents, the wellbeing of the staff involved is often overlooked but can leave them lacking confidence, unable to perform their job, requiring time off, or leaving the profession.

There is existing evidence on the importance and effectiveness of support programmes for such staff and their potential to counter the negative impact outlined above to result in more positive impact for staff and patients alike.

Study overview:

To develop a website resource that provides key information and signposting for:

  • Second victims
  • Colleagues and managers wishing to help an individual in this situation
  • Those seeking to develop more strategic, organisational and system level support.

The website (access here) has been developed with key stakeholders including the Improvement Academy and the Royal College of Physicians as well as second victims themselves. For example, it includes a selection of short videos in which staff share either their personal experience post incident, including what helped or hindered this and tips for others, or how they supported a team member or colleagues in this situation.

Following initial launch of the resource in early 2019, user evaluation and feedback has been very positive overall. The site continues to attract endorsements from a number of key organisations such as the College of Emergency Medicine, Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and Medical Defence Union. Stakeholder feedback will continue to inform ongoing development.


To volunteer your story as a second victim, colleague or manager supporting someone in this situation for inclusion on the website, please contact Prof Rebecca Lawton via email on 

For more information about the website please contact


YH PSTRC Newsletter Spring 2019 (p.7)

Lawton R, Johnson J , Janes G, Foy R, Simms-Ellis R Supporting Doctors Who Make Mistakes BMJ 2019;365:l2161 (10.1136/bmj.l2161)

Elborough-Whitehouse I, Lawton R, Marran J, Johnson J (2019) Medical Defence Union (MDU) Journal Spring 2019

Marran J, Supporting Second Victims Following an Adverse Event, Nursing Management (accepted for publication)

Note: volunteers to share their experiences are still sought. They can be filmed discussing their experiences with a development team member during a structured conversation or have these portrayed by an actor. The main focus will be on the individual’s experience post incident, what helped or hindered this and tips for others.