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Healthcare Development Research Unit

The School has recently established the Healthcare Development Research Unit to provide a forum and integrative mechanism for much of the social science style research being carried out by the School. It is anticipated that the Unit will contribute to each of the three research themes adopted within the School’s Research Strategy, but particularly to the third thematic area identified – ‘Evaluation of Healthcare Service Delivery and the Development of Professional Practice’.

The Unit is in the process of developing a programme of relatively small research projects, each examining different aspects of changing professional roles in the Health Service in the context of changing patterns of service delivery in the NHS (particularly in Wales) and also in the context of the Modernising Careers agenda. Given the particular educational role of the School, the emphasis will be on the roles of Allied Health Professionals but this will not be the exclusive focus. The Unit will develop a general programmatic approach within which a variety of projects will fit, relating particularly to the four professions for which the School provides education and training.

The programme of research will largely be theoretically anchored in the sociology of occupations, and more specifically in the sociology of professions. Studies of the roles of the different types of health professionals educated in the School and the way that these are changing will be a significant part of the research programme. However, given the extent to which the roles of different health professionals and others interact, such studies will contribute to a much wider understanding of the changing patterns of inter-professional collaboration (and conflict) in the Health Service and the implications for service delivery.