Sheffield healthcare scientist chosen to join leading improvement programme

Dr Siobhán Brennan, a Lead Clinical Scientist in the Department of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, has been named as one of nine recipients of the Chief Scientific Officer’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership for Leaders in Healthcare Science programme.

The highly prestigious programme, which aims to speed up the identification and dissemination of new, high-value approaches to improving patient outcomes, will provide Dr Brennan with a unique opportunity to use her scientific expertise to improve care for patients with learning disabilities who have some form of sensory loss such as hearing or visual impairment.

Hearing loss is thought to affect 40% of people with learning disabilities which is much higher than the general population. It also has has a greater impact on people with learning disabilities, and adults with learning disabilities are ten times more likely to be partially sighted or blind.

During the 12-month programme, Dr Brennan will work closely with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and leading national bodies such as the King’s Fund, to develop a series of proposals that will ensure that the specialist needs of patients with learning disabilities who have a sensory loss are better met.

This will include developing ideas to equip audiological staff with the skills they need to support those who have a learning disability and evolving how health care providers are assessed for meeting the needs of patients with learning disabilities who have a sensory loss.

Dr Siobhán Brennan, who is based at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals’ regional Department of Neurotology and is also an Audiology Lecturer at Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness, University of Manchester, said: “Sensory impairments have a major impact on the lives of patients with learning disabilities and their families, yet this is still a highly specialised area of care. This work will ultimately improve the care of this group of patients, and provide healthcare professionals with the confidence and specialist skills they need to support patients with learning disabilities who have a sensory impairment.

“I’m hugely honoured to be part of this exciting programme which puts collaboration at the heart of improving patient care.”

During the programme Dr Brennan will also have the opportunity to enhance her leadership skills through development coaching provided by The King’s Fund and to build her networks by joining other senior leaders at NHS England’s Healthcare Science advisory group, The King’s Fund annual leadership summit and at next year’s Chief Scientific Officer’s Conference.

The winners of the Chief Scientific Officer’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership for Leaders in Healthcare Science programme were announced by NHS England in partnership with the National Measurement System, the government funded body that maintains the UK measurement infrastructure.