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The University of Plymouth and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board in NHS Wales have announced a collaboration to take forward research on understanding the impact of avoidable employee harm.
The programme will draw on insights and learning from the patient safety movement and identify areas of avoidable employee harm in order to develop interventions to enable organisations to address identified ‘harms’.

This is an exciting programme of work that draws on the patient safety literature and experience to develop the avoidable employee harm concept. We are delighted to be working with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board because of the innovative work they are undertaking in this area.

Aled JonesAled Jones
Head of School of Nursing and Midwifery

A working definition, closely aligned to ‘avoidable patient harm’, defines avoidable employee harm as "where harm occurs to employees because of an identifiable and modifiable workplace cause, the future recurrence of which is avoidable by reasonable adaptation, subsequent adherence to and thoughtful implementation of a workplace process or policy".
A new paper published in the BMJ Leader explores the concept of avoidable harm and the contribution it can make to improving employee and patient safety.
The health board has recently developed work to improve the way it commissions and runs its employee investigations – recognising the harm that can take place – not only to those being taken through them, but also to those delivering them. It has been supported by research, published earlier this year looking at the impact of poorly applied human resources policies on individuals and organisations.

The focus on avoidable employee harm fits into our wider work to understand and improve the employee experience within our organisation – and this programme of research will also enable us to contribute to the academic literature and share the learning more widely. As we embark on this partnership with the University of Plymouth, we are also grateful to Health Education and Improvement Wales for their funding and support for this work to inform, shape and drive policy and practice within NHS Wales.

Dr Adrian Neal
Head of the Employee Wellbeing Service, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

We are looking forward to working with colleagues at the University of Plymouth to develop this area of research – learning from the significant impact and progress of the patient safety movement and applying that to how we look after those who work in healthcare.

Andrew Cooper,
Head of the Avoidable Employee Harm programme, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
As part of the collaboration, Andrew Cooper and Dr Adrian Neal have been appointed as honorary research fellows with the University of Plymouth to take the programme of research forward.