Outpatient surgical procedures have traditionally been carried out in the United Kingdom under General Anaesthetic. However, such a choice of anaesthesia comes with additional risks for patients, especially those with co-morbidities. By contrast, receiving regional anaesthesia during day surgery - often termed 'awake' surgery - can reduce the risk of complications, minimise hospital acquired infection and reduce length of hospital stay. Yet awake surgery uptake rates are low in the UK, and though many surgeries could be undertaken using regional anaesthesia, patients and clinicians report encountering barriers to the acceptance of awake surgery. Such barriers include fear of pain during the procedure, misinformation, squeamishness about the sounds associated with surgery and lack of knowledge about alternatives to General Anaesthesia.
This PhD project will use a Health Psychology Behaviour Change-informed approach and methodology to design, pilot and implement a novel intervention to increase uptake of awake surgery and improve patient and clinician satisfaction with procedures undertaken using regional anaesthesia. The project will be co-supervised between the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading, and the Department of Anaesthetics at Oxford University Hospital.
Prospective candidates with Masters-level degrees in Health Psychology or an Allied Field are preferred and previous experience in working with/in behaviour change research would also be desirable. The prospective candidate would also be able to use this project towards partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Stage 2 Independent Route Qualification in Health Psychology (if separately registered for the qualification with the British Psychological Society alongside PhD registration at the University of Reading). Informal inquiries should be directed to Dr Katherine Finlay.