Dr Carolyn Tarrant

Carolyn Tarrant - 2014Associate Professor in Health Psychology

Joint Group Lead of SAPPHIRE

Social Science Applied to Healthcare Improvement Research (SAPPHIRE) Group

Health Sciences
University of Leicester
George Davies Centre
University Road
Leicester, LE1 7RH

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3217
Email: ccp3@le.ac.uk

Personal details

I am Associate Professor and joint research group lead of the Social Science Applied to Healthcare Improvement Research (SAPPHIRE) Group, Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester. I am a social scientist with expertise in qualitative methods. I have experience of using ethnographic methods to evaluate quality and safety interventions in health care, with a focus on the acute care environment. Recent studies include evaluations of the Matching Michigan programme to reduce central line infections in ICUs (Funded by the Health Foundation), and an evaluation of the Scottish Patient Safety Sepsis VTE Collaborative (funded by Healthcare Improvement Scotland). I recently received a pump-priming grant funding from the cross-research council initiative on antimicrobial resistance to explore approaches to reducing broad-spectrum antibiotic use in acute medical patients internationally, drawing on theories of social dilemmas and principal-agent relationships. I am lead postgraduate tutor for the Department of Health Sciences.

External activites

  • Charted psychologist, BPS (2008)
  • Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy (2017)
  • Associate Editor for the journals BMJ Quality & Safety and Journal of Hospital Infection


  • Psychology in medicine
  • Qualitative methods



  • Tarrant C, Colman AM, Chattoe-Brown E, Jenkins DR, Mehtar S, Perera N, Krockow EM. Optimising antibiotic prescribing: Collective approaches to managing a common-pool resource. Clinical Microbiology & Infection
  • Krockow EM, Tarrant C. The international dimensions of antimicrobial resistance: contextual factors shape distinct ethical challenges in South Africa, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom. Bioethics (in press)
  • Colman AM, Krockow EM, Chattoe-Brown E, Tarrant, C. Medical prescribing and antibiotic resistance: A game-theoretic analysis of a potentially catastrophic social dilemma. PLOS One (in press)














PhD thesis


My research interests include the application of social science to the problems of antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infections, the implementation of patient safety interventions, patient involvement in the quality and safety of healthcare, and practical and ethical challenges in ethnographic research.

Current projects

  1. Antimicrobial resistance as a social dilemma: Approaches to reducing broad-spectrum antibiotic use in acute medical patients internationally.
    Carolyn Tarrant, Andrew Colman, Edmund Chattoe-Brown, David Jenkins, Nelun Perera, Shaheen Mehta 
    ESRC, Jan 2017- Dec 2019
  2. How can a successful Maternity Safety Improvement Programme be scaled?
    Mary Dixon-Woods, Tim Draycott, Carolyn Tarrant 
    The Health Foundation, 2017-2019
  3. Patient Experience And Reflective Learning (PEARL)
    Julian Bion et al. 
    NIHR, 2016-2019
  4. Preserving Antibiotics through Safe Stewardship (PASS)
    Andrew Hayward (UCL), Susan Michie (UCL) et al
    ESRC / joint research councils, 2017-2020
  5. Improving antibiotic usage and post-operative outcomes along the surgical pathway (ASPIRES)
    Alison Holmes (Imperial College) et al
    ESRC / joint research councils, 2017-2021

Previous projects

  • Enhanced Peri-Operative Care for High-risk patients (EPOCH) Trial. A stepped wedge randomised cluster trial of an intervention to improve quality of care for patients undergoing emergency laparotomy
    Miqdad Asaria, Julian Bion, David Cromwell, Omar Faiz, Alan Girling, Mike Grocott, Peter Holt, Sally Kerry, Richard Lilford, Rupert Pearse, Carol Peden, Ravi Mahajan, Graham Martin, Gerry Richardson, Kate Rivett, Carolyn Tarrant, Tim Stephens. 
  • Safety Thermometer in useEvaluation of NHS Safety Thermometer data collection and use
    Natalie Armstrong, Mary Dixon-Woods, Carolyn Tarrant. 
    Salford Royal NHS
  • Evaluation of the Sepsis / VTE (venous thromboembolism) Collaborative
    Carolyn Tarrant, Graham Martin, Julian Bion. 
    Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Evaluation of Safer Clinical Systems
    Mary Dixon-Woods, Graham Martin, Carolyn Tarrant, Julian Bion, Armstrong Institute. 
    The Health Foundation
  • ‘Why is Southmead safe’ - a qualitative study exploring how and why the PROMPT training programme works at Southmead, Bristol
  • An evaluation of the feasibility of using The Patient Activation Measure in NHS primary care in England
    N Armstrong, C Tarrant, G Martin and B Manktelow. 
    The Health Foundation / NHS England
  • Commercial use of tissue samples in the 1958 birth cohort: a study of participants' views.  
    Mary Dixon-Woods, Carolyn Tarrant, Paul Burton, Madeleine Murtagh, Susan Wallace, Graeme Laurie. 
    MRC & Wellcome Trust
  • An ethnographic study of efforts to reduce central venous catheter blood stream infections in intensive care units in England (Dixon-Woods M, Tarrant C, Lilford R, Bion J)
  • Responsiveness of primary care services: development of a patient-report measure (Tarrant C, Baker R, Boulton M, Freeman G, Box G, Jackson P)
  • The experience of medical students classified as unsatisfactory at finals (Patel R, Kitchen R, Briggs J, Bonas S, Tarrant C, Hastings A)
  • Exploration of feedback of results to participants of the ORACLE Children’s Study (Kenyon S, Dixon-Woods M, Jackson C, Tarrant C).
  • Further analysis of cancer trial research ethics committee applications: improving quality in patient information sheets (Dixon-Woods M, Tarrant C, Angell E).


Postgraduate supervision (1st supervisor)

  • Tom Furniss - The impact of environment and routines on interactions with patients and relatives in acute care settings: a video-reflexive ethnography

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