This process had a major effect on the study. The research was frozen for two months, during which time patients left the service and could not be followed up and other patients joined the service and could not be incorporated into our project. Moreover, ongoing monitoring of patients in the project (weekly measures of self rated motivation) could not be obtained. This has left us with incomplete datasets and an overall loss of patient numbers, which is critical for statistical analysis. These deficiencies affected the validity of our overall results and waste the efforts of both patients and researchers.
The two month freeze also had financial implications. The research assistant's time was not used for the project during that time. This meant a net loss of one sixth of her overall time allocated to the project amounting to a cost of just under £1000. Costs were also incurred for our time to conduct all the research governance procedures and the time of the ethics committee.
The process put us under a lot of stress, and we felt that something shameful and wrong had occurred. It was suggested, for example, at one point that our error had to be treated in the same way as giving the wrong drug to a cancer patient. Clearly, this was not realistic.
Completing the reparative activities as requested was time consuming and competed with other pressing clinical demands. Moreover, we felt that the reparation was excessive in relation to the problem identified. The process felt arbitrary and punitive; it bore no obvious relation to the simple, creative idea that had instigated it. We both felt demoralised and angry about the process and less inclined to undertake research in the future.