Closes 30/03 PhD Studentship: Quality improvement in postnatal maternity service


PhD Studentship: Quality improvement in postnatal maternity services: Developing an intervention to support staff with error disclosure

University of Leeds – School of Psychology

Faculty of Medicine and Health
Collaboration in Leadership for Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) and the School of Psychology, University of Leeds.
Professor Rebecca Lawton, Dr Judith Johnson, Kathryn Melling

A full time PhD studentship is available for immediate start for UK and EU citizens only. The studentship will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £14,273 for up to 3 years, subject to satisfactory progress and will cover the UK/EU tuition fees.

You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper second class honours degree in psychology or subject relevant to the project. A Masters degree in Psychology or other related discipline is preferred. This project would suit a student with a high level of knowledge about health services or systems within the UK, particularly students with experience of researching or working clinically within maternity services.

The Faculty minimum requirements for candidates whose first language is not English 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 no less than 23.


Medical errors cost the NHS up to £2.5 billion annually. The cost of error in maternity services in particular is high, and is estimated to account for 50% of the NHS error litigation bill (DOH, 2000). The conventional medicolegal risk management approach is to avoid the communication of error and to refrain from acknowledging responsibility, but research indicates that prompt and open disclosure is i) in the interests of high quality, safer patient care, and ii) may reduce the cost of legal claims (Sakala 2013). The Duty of Candour came into force in October 2014, making it a legal duty for NHS trusts to apologise to patients if there have been medical errors leading to harm. However, there are currently no interventions to improve error disclosure tailored for UK maternity services.


  • Systematically review error disclosure interventions
  • Understand experiences and views regarding error disclosure in maternity services, and identify potential barriers to delivering an intervention to improve error disclosure
  • Identify the most important components of an intervention in this area
  • Evaluate an intervention to improve error disclosure

The successful candidate will be based at both the University of Leeds and the Bradford Institute of Health Research.

How to apply:

To apply for this scholarship applicants should complete a Faculty Scholarship Application form and send this alongside a full academic CV, degree certificates and transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) to

We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these references on your behalf, directly to by no later than Wednesday 30 March 2016

If you have already applied for other scholarships using this form you do not need to complete it again. Instead you should email to inform us you would like to be considered for this scholarship project.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to

Closing date for applications – 1pm Wednesday 30 March 2016

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