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1.  The friends and family test: a qualitative study of concerns that influence the willingness of English National Health Service staff to recommend their organisation 
Objectives
The views of practitioners at the ‘sharp end’ of care provision are increasingly recognised as important indicators of quality of care. The National Health Service (NHS) Staff Survey in England has quantified employees' views on how far they would be happy with the standard of care provided by their organisation if a friend or family member needed treatment. We aimed to characterise the concerns that might affect the willingness of staff to recommend their own organisations.
Design
Qualitative study involving semi-structured interviews. Data analysis based on the constant comparative method.
Participants
Members of clinical and managerial staff in four NHS organisations (n = 70), and senior stakeholders across the NHS including clinicians, managers and others with a strategic or senior-level perspective (n = 98).
Setting
One hundred and sixty-eight interviews were conducted: 70 in four case study organisations and 98 across the wider English NHS.
Main outcome measures
Not applicable.
Results
Asking study participants the ‘if a friend…’ question offered insider views on the quality of care. Some staff had no concerns, but others, identified significant problems with consistency, reliability and behaviour of staff. Participants identified reasons for poor care that included inadequate organisational systems; structural problems of understaffing and under-resourcing; weaknesses in professional cultures and professional competence and failure to deal with problems such as unacceptable conduct. Participants emphasised that staff were not always able to deliver high-quality care because they worked in difficult conditions.
Conclusions
Asking staff to give accounts of their willingness to recommend their organisation to family and friends elicits important insights into quality and safety of care. Such accounts might be able to provide warning signs that could signal organisational decline and avert healthcare scandals, but use outside a research context requires further evaluation.
doi:10.1177/0141076814532392
PMCID: PMC4128077  PMID: 24781160
quality of care; net promoter; staff concerns; soft intelligence; National Health Service
2.  The friends and family test: a qualitative study of concerns that influence the willingness of English National Health Service staff to recommend their organisation 
Objectives
The views of practitioners at the ‘sharp end’ of care provision are increasingly recognised as important indicators of quality of care. The National Health Service (NHS) Staff Survey in England has quantified employees' views on how far they would be happy with the standard of care provided by their organisation if a friend or family member needed treatment. We aimed to characterise the concerns that might affect the willingness of staff to recommend their own organisations.
Design
Qualitative study involving semi-structured interviews. Data analysis based on the constant comparative method.
Participants
Members of clinical and managerial staff in four NHS organisations (n = 70), and senior stakeholders across the NHS including clinicians, managers and others with a strategic or senior-level perspective (n = 98).
Setting
One hundred and sixty-eight interviews were conducted: 70 in four case study organisations and 98 across the wider English NHS.
Main outcome measures
Not applicable.
Results
Asking study participants the ‘if a friend…’ question offered insider views on the quality of care. Some staff had no concerns, but others, identified significant problems with consistency, reliability and behaviour of staff. Participants identified reasons for poor care that included inadequate organisational systems; structural problems of understaffing and under-resourcing; weaknesses in professional cultures and professional competence and failure to deal with problems such as unacceptable conduct. Participants emphasised that staff were not always able to deliver high-quality care because they worked in difficult conditions.
Conclusions
Asking staff to give accounts of their willingness to recommend their organisation to family and friends elicits important insights into quality and safety of care. Such accounts might be able to provide warning signs that could signal organisational decline and avert healthcare scandals, but use outside a research context requires further evaluation.
doi:10.1177/0141076814532392
PMCID: PMC4128077  PMID: 24781160
quality of care; net promoter; staff concerns; soft intelligence; National Health Service
4.  Using shared goal setting to improve access and equity: a mixed methods study of the Good Goals intervention in children’s occupational therapy 
Background
Access and equity in children’s therapy services may be improved by directing clinicians’ use of resources toward specific goals that are important to patients. A practice-change intervention (titled ‘Good Goals’) was designed to achieve this. This study investigated uptake, adoption, and possible effects of that intervention in children’s occupational therapy services.
Methods
Mixed methods case studies (n = 3 services, including 46 therapists and 558 children) were conducted. The intervention was delivered over 25 weeks through face-to-face training, team workbooks, and ‘tools for change’. Data were collected before, during, and after the intervention on a range of factors using interviews, a focus group, case note analysis, routine data, document analysis, and researchers’ observations.
Results
Factors related to uptake and adoptions were: mode of intervention delivery, competing demands on therapists’ time, and leadership by service manager. Service managers and therapists reported that the intervention: helped therapists establish a shared rationale for clinical decisions; increased clarity in service provision; and improved interactions with families and schools. During the study period, therapists’ behaviours changed: identifying goals, odds ratio 2.4 (95% CI 1.5 to 3.8); agreeing goals, 3.5 (2.4 to 5.1); evaluating progress, 2.0 (1.1 to 3.5). Children’s LoT decreased by two months [95% CI −8 to +4 months] across the services. Cost per therapist trained ranged from £1,003 to £1,277, depending upon service size and therapists’ salary bands.
Conclusions
Good Goals is a promising quality improvement intervention that can be delivered and adopted in practice and may have benefits. Further research is required to evaluate its: (i) impact on patient outcomes, effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and (ii) transferability to other clinical contexts.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-76
PMCID: PMC3444894  PMID: 22898191
5.  Participation in physical play and leisure: developing a theory- and evidence-based intervention for children with motor impairments 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:100.
Background
Children with motor impairments (e.g. difficulties with motor control, muscle tone or balance) experience significant difficulties in participating in physical play and leisure. Current interventions are often poorly defined, lack explicit hypotheses about why or how they might work, and have insufficient evidence about effectiveness. This project will identify (i) the 'key ingredients' of an effective intervention to increase participation in physical play and leisure in children with motor impairments; and (ii) how these ingredients can be combined in a feasible and acceptable intervention.
Methods/Design
The project draws on the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health and the UK Medical Research Council guidance for developing 'complex interventions'. There will be five steps: 1) identifying biomedical, personal and environmental factors proposed to predict children's participation in physical play and leisure; 2) developing an explicit model of the key predictors; 3) selecting intervention strategies to target the predictors, and specifying the pathways to change; 4) operationalising the strategies in a feasible and acceptable intervention; and 5) modelling the intervention processes and outcomes within single cases.
Discussion
The primary output from this project will be a detailed protocol for an intervention. The intervention, if subsequently found to be effective, will support children with motor difficulties to attain life-long well-being and participation in society. The project will also be an exemplar of methodology for a systematic development of non-drug interventions for children.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-100
PMCID: PMC3219724  PMID: 22061203
6.  The translation research in a dental setting (TRiaDS) programme protocol 
Background
It is well documented that the translation of knowledge into clinical practice is a slow and haphazard process. This is no less true for dental healthcare than other types of healthcare. One common policy strategy to help promote knowledge translation is the production of clinical guidance, but it has been demonstrated that the simple publication of guidance is unlikely to optimise practice. Additional knowledge translation interventions have been shown to be effective, but effectiveness varies and much of this variation is unexplained. The need for researchers to move beyond single studies to develop a generalisable, theory based, knowledge translation framework has been identified.
For dentistry in Scotland, the production of clinical guidance is the responsibility of the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP). TRiaDS (Translation Research in a Dental Setting) is a multidisciplinary research collaboration, embedded within the SDCEP guidance development process, which aims to establish a practical evaluative framework for the translation of guidance and to conduct and evaluate a programme of integrated, multi-disciplinary research to enhance the science of knowledge translation.
Methods
Set in General Dental Practice the TRiaDS programmatic evaluation employs a standardised process using optimal methods and theory. For each SDCEP guidance document a diagnostic analysis is undertaken alongside the guidance development process. Information is gathered about current dental care activities. Key recommendations and their required behaviours are identified and prioritised. Stakeholder questionnaires and interviews are used to identify and elicit salient beliefs regarding potential barriers and enablers towards the key recommendations and behaviours. Where possible routinely collected data are used to measure compliance with the guidance and to inform decisions about whether a knowledge translation intervention is required. Interventions are theory based and informed by evidence gathered during the diagnostic phase and by prior published evidence. They are evaluated using a range of experimental and quasi-experimental study designs, and data collection continues beyond the end of the intervention to investigate the sustainability of an intervention effect.
Discussion
The TRiaDS programmatic approach is a significant step forward towards the development of a practical, generalisable framework for knowledge translation research. The multidisciplinary composition of the TRiaDS team enables consideration of the individual, organisational and system determinants of professional behaviour change. In addition the embedding of TRiaDS within a national programme of guidance development offers a unique opportunity to inform and influence the guidance development process, and enables TRiaDS to inform dental services practitioners, policy makers and patients on how best to translate national recommendations into routine clinical activities.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-57
PMCID: PMC2920875  PMID: 20646275
7.  Culture and behaviour in the English National Health Service: overview of lessons from a large multimethod study 
BMJ Quality & Safety  2013;23(2):106-115.
Background
Problems of quality and safety persist in health systems worldwide. We conducted a large research programme to examine culture and behaviour in the English National Health Service (NHS).
Methods
Mixed-methods study involving collection and triangulation of data from multiple sources, including interviews, surveys, ethnographic case studies, board minutes and publicly available datasets. We narratively synthesised data across the studies to produce a holistic picture and in this paper present a high-level summary.
Results
We found an almost universal desire to provide the best quality of care. We identified many ‘bright spots’ of excellent caring and practice and high-quality innovation across the NHS, but also considerable inconsistency. Consistent achievement of high-quality care was challenged by unclear goals, overlapping priorities that distracted attention, and compliance-oriented bureaucratised management. The institutional and regulatory environment was populated by multiple external bodies serving different but overlapping functions. Some organisations found it difficult to obtain valid insights into the quality of the care they provided. Poor organisational and information systems sometimes left staff struggling to deliver care effectively and disempowered them from initiating improvement. Good staff support and management were also highly variable, though they were fundamental to culture and were directly related to patient experience, safety and quality of care.
Conclusions
Our results highlight the importance of clear, challenging goals for high-quality care. Organisations need to put the patient at the centre of all they do, get smart intelligence, focus on improving organisational systems, and nurture caring cultures by ensuring that staff feel valued, respected, engaged and supported.
doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2013-001947
PMCID: PMC3913222  PMID: 24019507
Health services research; Health policy; Management; Patient safety; Patient-centred care

Results 1-7 (7)