Funding awarded for research into shared decision making in surgery

  • 5 September 2023

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has awarded the North Bristol NHS Trust and the University of Bristol almost £150,000 to conduct research into improving shared decision making in surgery.

The NIHR Programme Development Grant award will enable the study team working within the Bristol Centre for Surgical Research to continue its research into discovering novel ways to monitor patients’ experiences of shared decision making before surgery. The funding will start in November 2023 and will be available for 21 months.

Over five million people decide to have surgery each year. These are important, life-changing decisions and patients should be able to take part in making them. The recommended way for patients and professionals to make joint decisions about care is through shared decision making. Unfortunately, not everyone is always given the chance to take part in this process which makes improving shared decision making a research priority.

During our study we will work in partnership with the Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust. This will allow us to carry out research activities with a more varied population. Our aim is to research how shared decision making can be improved and monitored better. We also want to establish how to make it more accessible for underserved groups such as people on a low income, the elderly and ethnic minorities.

Public involvement and engagement will play a key role in the research we carry out. Our researchers have already spent time working with a variety of patient and public contributors to design the study.

If you would like to know more or get involved, you can find information and contact details on the study website.

Angus McNair, Consultant Senior Lecturer and NIHR Clinician Scientist. Co-Chief investigator leading the study, said:

“We are delighted to have received recognition from the NIHR for this important piece of work. Our vision is for every NHS patient to have a good experience of shared decision making when deciding to have surgery.

“Patients want to have a say in the care and treatment they are provided, and we will continue working hard to prepare future research with the potential to change practice.”

Val Snelgrove, patient representative and co-applicant said:

“It is very important to involve patients in decisions about their treatment. Surgeons can underestimate how much information patients want and need.

“Despite best efforts, they do not always give sufficient consideration to questions and concerns patients may have.

“I am pleased that through the funding, this project will be able to address this and help improve shared decision making for the individual patient.”