Centre for Behaviour Change


SAFER: SARS-CoV-2 Acquisition in Frontline Health Care Workers – Evaluation to Inform Response

Funder: MRC
Duration: 2020-2021
Partners: University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health, UCL Dept of Science and Technology Studies, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UCL Centre for Clinical Research in Infection and Sexual Health, University of Leeds
CBC lead: Prof Susan Michie
CBC Researchers:  Dr Fabiana Lorencatto, Dr Elise Crayton 

Working in the context of an outbreak of a novel pathogen will present risk and unique challenges to healthcare workers who continue to work in hospitals during an epidemic. SAFER is a £1.4m MRC funded programme of research investigating Covid-19 in hospital healthcare workers. It will use repeated, longitudinal sampling and virological analysis to examine rates of Covid-19 acquisition in healthcare workers. 

The CBC will lead a series of theory-based qualitative interviews and surveys to explore: 1) staff’s experience of working during the outbreak, including challenges faced and perceptions of risk; and 2) the extent to which staff engage in personal protective behaviours (e.g. use of PPE, hand washing, social distancing), and the factors influencing these behaviours. 

The information from our study will add to the understanding of staff health and safety, hospital infection prevention and control, and will improve the evidence-base for the protection of patients and staff. The team plans to use the findings to better inform health and safety measures to protect staff and patients, improve hospital infection prevention and control, and inform policy for the current pandemic and future preparedness planning.