Research & Evaluation

Valuable insights to your workforce and healthcare challenges

Our nationally recognised researchers and academics work with healthcare organisations to provide data-driven evidence, giving you the confidence to make informed decisions to overcome workforce challenges.

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Identify and understand the impact of your patient services

Maximise the capabilities of your workforce with evidence-led insights

Reduce skills gaps, review roles and shortages for a future-proof workforce plan

Improve system-wide and organisational intelligence, to make more informed decisions

Translate the meaning of your data and insights with robust analysis

With over 20 years’ experience in mapping, conducting, and evaluating local, regional, and national research in both primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare settings, we have published peer-reviewed reports on a range of workforce and healthcare topics. Our work helps inform local decision making and inform international policy, ensuring strategies are evidence-based.

  • We use proven research methodologies to maximise participation, ensuring you get the full picture about your issues

  • Our results influence key decision making at an internal, organisational, system-wide and national level

  • We conduct process and impact evaluation for both projects and programmes, including assessing Social ROI assessments and cost-benefit analysis

  • We apply experienced analytical knowledge to ensure findings are focused on providing practical outcomes that will support the health sector

  • Our findings are presented in meaningful and relevant reports that can be interpreted to positively impact yourself and your organisation

Research that leads to better healthcare outcomes

We’ll work with you to tailor our services, based on the challenges you face and the insights you want to uncover. Our research team will support you and advise on the best methodologies that will really get under the skin of your data, so you can make the best decisions for your workforce based on evidence-led information and insights.

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Our research team provides a wealth of valuable insights and knowledge, which can help healthcare and NHS organisations dramatically enhance the work they do. Get in touch to start your next evaluation project.

Highlights of our work

We’ve worked with hundreds of healthcare organisations and integrated systems across health, social care and justice, here are just a few examples of nationally-leading research and evaluation projects that have supported workforce and healthcare outcomes.

Hampshire and Isle of White Integrated Care Board (HIOW ICB) had received consistent feedback from colleagues working across multiple sectors in multiple roles that education, training, and career development have not kept pace with the transformation and change or the societal need. They worked with Skills for Health and Health Education England to uncover the skills and knowledge that healthcare employees needed in order to meet demand.

We conducted a desk review, ran an online workforce survey, and held virtual focus groups to provide robust information. Participants from across the Integrated Care System were invited to take part, including allied health professionals, social care, GPs and nursing.

A series of recommendations were produced for different levels of patient interaction, as well as further identified needs such as a review of  the existing Core Skills and Education and Training Framework, which is now underway with NHS England.

You can read the full case study. 

The report is the culmination of a year-long project which saw nearly 30,000 people sharing their experience of having the vaccine – the single biggest survey about the country’s vaccination programme.

As the scale of the programme became clear, staff working on public involvement in local health and care organisations began to discuss how to capture people’s feedback so that any learning could be shared with vaccination teams. From these conversations two separate but aligned surveys developed – Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s Friends and Family Test, and NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group’s online survey for community-based vaccine centres. By the end of the project, nearly 30,000 people had reported back on their experiences at 101 different vaccination clinics in the city, giving an average score of 9.8 out of 10.

We were contracted to assess the social value of the Joint Ambulance Conveyance Project at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue. We conducted surveys, focus groups and interviews with fire service personnel, ambulance staff and service users to evaluate the social, economic and environmental impact the respective interventions have on service users.

An evaluation report and impact map were provided, which indicated the social value created by respective interventions. This then supported the drive to strengthen and improve service delivery.

We were commissioned by Public Health Wales to review the skills, knowledge and understanding required in the NERS role. We also looked at whether the current system provides these efficiently for the workforce.

To conduct this review, we undertook an extensive literature review of a range of publications and papers from Public Health Wales as well as secondary sources. We held interviews with key stakeholders to provide background to the review. We also surveyed NERS professionals about issues relating to training, qualification, competence and registration requirements.

This resulted in an in-depth report enabling Public Health Wales to better ensure the training, qualification and registration arrangements guarantee exercise professionals have the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to provide exercise programmes for referred patients.

Working in collaboration with Skills for Care, we undertook a review of integrated apprenticeships in the health and social care sectors. We were asked to provide examples of good practice and successful initiatives and to identify barriers to facilitating integrated apprenticeships and any solutions to overcome these.

The research comprised four elements:

  • Desk research for background to the study
  • The qualitative scoping study, including a survey of Skills for Care’s locality teams and Skills for Health’s key stakeholders, to assess activity across England
  • In-depth qualitative interviews with key experts to understand the nature of integrated apprenticeships, the challenges faced and solutions to overcome these
  • Development of five best practice case studies.

This research enabled Health Education England to further develop the concept of integrated apprenticeships.

The Healthcare Works programme is operated by Barts Health NHS Trust. It aims to increase ambition and encourage entry by young people in East London into support roles in healthcare. We were commissioned to conduct an evaluation of the programme to ensure it met its objectives and catered to the needs of learners. The evaluation took the form of stakeholder interviews, participants interviews, a longitudinal survey of learners and a review of programme data such as completion rates, learner demographics, uptake of interviews for employment and outcome of interviews. The evaluation enabled Barts Health NHS Trust to evidence progress, best practice and impact, and led to the organisation expanding the programme.

We carried out a two-year national evaluation of police, fire and rescue and ambulance services, to assess the collaborative roll out of joint emergency learning pilots.

Through a longitudinal survey, focus groups and interviews with staff of all ranks across the services, the evaluation supported JESIP to develop comprehensive and consistent joint training plans and interventions. The final evaluation report was submitted to Home Office ministers to inform decision-making at a national level.

We led a consortium, together with the Universities of Nottingham, Birmingham and West Scotland, to evaluate existing and emerging emergency services collaboration. The evaluation identified best practice and established a knowledge base for greater cooperation across the emergency services. The research consisted of return on investment assessments, literature review, elite interviews, focus groups with front-line staff, and surveys of the general public and emergency services across England and Wales.

The final report was published by the Home Office. Our research-informed government ministers during the important police and fire shared service debate at the House of Commons, which subsequently led to the Home Office recommending that emergency services share control rooms.

The research reports delivered by Skills for Health offered us a series of unique insights, including pinpointing disparities between local health service supply and population demand. By using this information to optimise our services for local demand we increased overall productivity and service quality and helped deliver on our QIPP agenda.

Adrian Whittle, Head of HR and Organisational Development, NHS Cambridgeshire and NHS Peterborough

Data-driven workforce insights

Read specialist insight pieces from some of the health sector’s leading experts – or download brochures, case studies and reports from our extensive library.