Open Access Study protocol

A randomised controlled trial of patient led training in medical education: protocol

Anna E Winterbottom1*, Vikram Jha2, Colin Melville3, Oliver Corrado4, Jools Symons2, David Torgerson5, Ian Watt6 and John Wright1

Author Affiliations

1 Yorkshire Quality and Safety Research Group, Bradford Institute for Health Research, Bradford Royal Infirmary, Duckworth lane, Bradford, BD9 6RJ, UK

2 Leeds Institute of Medical Education, Level 7, Worsley Building, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK

3 North Yorkshire and East Coast Foundation School, Yorkshire and the Humber Deanery East Locality, Building 1, Willerby Hill Business Park, Willerby, Hull, HU10 6FE, UK

4 West Yorkshire Foundation School, Postgraduate Centre, Leeds General Infirmary, Great George Street, Leeds LS1 3EX, UK

5 York Trials Unit, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, UK

6 Department of Health Sciences, Seebohm Rowntree Building, University of York, Heslington, York, UK. YO10 5DD, UK

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BMC Medical Education 2010, 10:90  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-90

Published: 3 December 2010



Estimates suggest that approximately 1 in 10 patients admitted to hospital experience an adverse event resulting in harm. Methods to improve patient safety have concentrated on developing safer systems of care and promoting changes in professional behaviour. There is a growing international interest in the development of interventions that promote the role of patients preventing error, but limited evidence of effectiveness of such interventions. The present study aims to undertake a randomised controlled trial of patient-led teaching of junior doctors about patient safety.


A randomised cluster controlled trial will be conducted. The intervention will be incorporated into the mandatory training of junior doctors training programme on patient safety. The study will be conducted in the Yorkshire and Humber region in the North of England. Patients who have experienced a safety incident in the NHS will be recruited. Patients will be identified through National Patient Safety Champions and local Trust contacts. Patients will receive training and be supported to talk to small groups of trainees about their experiences. The primary aim of the patient-led teaching module is to increase the awareness of patient safety issues amongst doctors, allow reflection on their own attitudes towards safety and promote an optimal culture among the doctors to improve safety in practice. A mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods will be used to evaluate the impact of the intervention, using the Attitudes to Patient Safety Questionnaire (APSQ) as our primary quantitative outcome, as well as focus groups and semi-structured interviews.


The research team face a number of challenges in developing the intervention, including integrating a new method of teaching into an existing curriculum, facilitating effective patient involvement and identifying suitable outcome measures.

Trial Registration

Current controlled Trials: ISRCTN94241579