Dr Siobhan McHugh

Dr Siobhan McHugh


I joined the University of Leeds as a Senior Researcher on The Response Study in May 2022. The Response Study is a 39-month NIHR funded project working alongside colleagues in the patient safety team at NHS England & Improvement to evaluate the new national Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF) across the NHS in England. 

I obtained my PhD in applied health psychology from the School of Psychology, University of Leeds in 2020. Supervised by Professor Rebecca Lawton, Professor Jane O’Hara and Dr Laura Sheard, I evaluated video-reflexive ethnography (VRE) as an improvement tool for multi-disciplinary healthcare teams working in acute maternity settings.

I subsequently worked as a Research Fellow in the Yorkshire Quality and Safety Research Group (YQSR) on the Learn Together project, being promoted to Senior Research Fellow in January 2022. I remain affiliated with this project as an Honorary Senior Research Fellow, contributing specifically to the development of this new guidance at a national level with NHS England and Improvement, and leading on an embedded project specifically exploring involvement in, and learning from, serious incident investigations after suicide. 


  • Senior Researcher, The Response Study

Research interests

My research interests sit broadly within applied health psychology, with a specific focus on patient safety and healthcare quality. 

I currently work as a Senior Researcher on The Response Study which is a multi-site evaluation of the new Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF); a national policy to guide NHS Trusts in how to respond when things go wrong in healthcare. The project spans 5 work packages, and the final evaluation will contribute to our understanding of the development and implementation of both local and national patient safety policy. Broadly, we will conduct interviews with policy makers to engage with the logic of the new framework, and then work closely with six NHS Trusts across the North East & Yorkshire, the North West and the Midlands using focused ethnography to explore pre-implementation and post-implementation context. 

In my previous role, I worked as part of the Learn Together project team, and am still affiliated as a contributing researcher. The Learn Together project was a multi-site NIHR funded project to co-design and test guidance to support involvement and engagement of patients, families and healthcare staff in serious incident investigations in the NHS in England. You can find more details about this project here.

I work primarily as a qualitative researcher, employing various qualitative methods in my research. I have a particular interest in novel qualitative methods, and have use video-reflexive ethnography extensively within acute maternity services and other healthcare contexts. 


  • PhD Applied Health Psychology
  • MA Natural Science
  • MSc Exercise and Health Psychology
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology
  • BA (Hons) (cantab) Natural Science

Research groups and institutes

  • Health and social psychology