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Press Release

Press release

HRB to invest €1.5 million in research collaboration on quality and patient safety

24 May 2013

The Health Research Board is collaborating with the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) to advance research on quality and patient safety in Ireland.

The collaboration aims to generate new research evidence in response to specific quality and patient safety (QPS) issues that emerge from the Irish Health Service including those arising from the HSE's National Clinical Programmes.

According to Enda Connolly, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board;
'This is an exciting new research initiative, which will be executed by researchers and health professionals working together within the health system and with the full support of the Patient Safety Directorate of the HSE. It will produce detailed evidence from within our services, which will enable us to assess healthcare quality and patient safety, which will be used to improve case outcomes for patients through changes in policy and practice. Patients benefit, health services benefit and, as such, it's a win-win for everyone'.

Key steps under the collaboration will include: -

  • Developing a network of researchers in Ireland with an interest in quality and patient safety.
  • Facilitating opportunities, such as workshops, for interested researchers to meet with clinical practitioners to identify specific research questions that will meet a practice need and in turn improve patient care.
  • Hosting practical 'clinics' where researchers and clinicians will develop research questions and design of the most appropriate QPS research methodology for their study.
  • Managing a prioritisation process where a number of QPS research questions will be identified so the most important questions for Irish patients will be developed and eventually funded.

The HRB will then fund a selection of prioritised research questions that emerge from the collaborative over the coming years through a competitive international peer review process. The focus will be on emerging 'live' or immediate QPS research questions from the Irish health services and national clinical programmes that require answers. So it helps build an evidence base for quality and patient safety for Ireland.

'This is a huge opportunity to immediately improve the quality of patient care', says Philip Crowley, Director of Quality and Patient Safety at the HSE, 'Quality and patient safety research is a new domain in Ireland. And considering how little money is spent internationally on Quality and Patient Safety research, the model is visionary and Health Research Board should be commended for the foresight and initiative to seed fund and establish this important collaborative'.

'It is important to set national research priorities with a mission to advance the scientific foundation for quality improvement', says Dr Áine Carroll, National Director for the National Clinical Programmes in the HSE. 'The Clinical Programmes offer the opportunity for multidisciplinary, multisite collaboration and the HSE/HRB offer the research infrastructure to bridge the gap between knowing something and doing something about it. This is an incredibly exciting opportunity in solution seeking'.

The RCPI will have a central role in terms of acting as the host institution and will be involved in facilitating all actions within the collaborative.

According to Leo Kearns, CEO of the RCPI;
'Our role in developing and facilitating this research collaborative reinforces the RCPI commitment to improving real patient outcomes and underpinning the work of the National Clinical Programmes with an evidence base. We believe it will build the research capacity and capability of clinicians in this area and will also help researchers' access to health care settings. We are delighted to support something we know is innovative and will benefit our member'.

Photos will be available after the launch on Friday morning (24 May 2013).


Gillian Markey, Communications Manager
Health Research Board
m 00353 87 2288514
t 00353 1 2345103
e gmarkey(at) 

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