Professor Carolyn Tarrant

Professor of Health Services Research

School/Department: Population Health Sciences, Department of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 3217



I am Professor and research group lead of the Social Science Applied to Healthcare Improvement Research (SAPPHIRE) Group Department of Population Health Sciences University of Leicester. With a background in psychology I have many years’ experience of working as a researcher and academic in the field of Health Services Research. I have expertise in qualitative methods including ethnographic methods in healthcare improvement research, in conducting qualitative research to inform the development of interventions to improve healthcare, and in qualitative process evaluation of programmes and interventions. I have particular interests in antibiotic overuse and acute care settings. I lead a number of large qualitative work packages as part of inter-disciplinary teams in national and international collaborations.


I am currently leading a qualitative study of resilience in acute care services during the Covid pandemic (funded by NIHR). I have led several studies on antibiotic overuse, including studies of the overuse of broad spectrum antibiotics in acute medical patients internationally; antibiotic use and infection control along surgical pathways; and a study using behaviour change theory to design interventions to reduce antibiotic prescribing in the UK (funded by ESRC/JRC UK). Other recent qualitative studies have focused on the use of visual identifiers for people with dementia in hospitals (funded by THISInstitute), staff reflection in acute care settings (funded by NIHR), and safety in maternity care (funded by the Health Foundation). I have conducted research into the implementation of improvement programmes for healthcare associated infections and sepsis including a qualitative study 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).


  • Tarrant C, Krockow EM. Antibiotic overuse: managing uncertainty and mitigating against overtreatment. BMJ Quality & Safety Published Online First: 20 July 2021. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2021-013615.
  • Bonaconsa C, Mbamalu O, Mendelson M, Boutall A, Warden C, Rayamajhi S, Pennel T, Hampton M, Joubert I, Tarrant C, Holmes A. Visual mapping of team dynamics and communication patterns on surgical ward rounds: an ethnographic study. BMJ Quality & Safety. 2021 Feb 9.
  • Tarrant C, Colman AM, Jenkins DR, Chattoe-Brown E, Perera N, Mehtar S, Nakkawita WMID, Bolscher M, Krockow EM. Drivers of broad spectrum antibiotic overuse across diverse hospital contexts. A qualitative study of prescribers in the UK, Sri Lanka and South Africa. Antibiotics 2021;10(1):94.
  • Singh S, Mendelson M, Surendran S, Bonaconsa C, Mbamalu O, Nampoothiri V, Boutall A, Hampton M, Dhar P, Pennel T, Tarrant C, Leather A, Holmes A, Charani E. On behalf of the ASPIRES co-Investigators. Investigating infection management and antimicrobial stewardship in surgery: a qualitative study from India and South Africa. Clinical Microbiology and Infection  2021
  • Sutton E, Bion J, Mannion R, Willars J, Shaw E, Tarrant C. A qualitative study of organisational response to national quality standards for 7-day services in English hospitals. BMC Health Services Research. 2021;21(1):1-1.
  • Poudel AN, Zhu S, Cooper N, Roderick P, Alwan N, Tarrant C, Ziauddeen N, Yao GL. Impact of Covid-19 on health-related quality of life of patients: A structured review. Plos One. 2021 Oct 28;16(10):e0259164.
  • Tarrant C, Krockow EM, Nakkawita WMID, Bolscher M, Colman AM, Chattoe-Brown E, Perera N, Mehtar S, Jenkins DR. Moral and contextual dimensions of "inappropriate" antibiotic prescribing in secondary care: a three-country interview study.  Frontiers in Sociology 2020;5(7).
  • Liberati EG, Tarrant C, Willars J, Draycott T, Winter C, Kuberska K, Paton A, Marjanovic S, Leach B, Lichten C, Hocking L. Seven features of safety in maternity units: a framework based on multisite ethnography and stakeholder consultation. BMJ Quality & Safety. 2020 Sep 25.
  • Jones J, Bion J, Brown C, Willars J, Brookes O, Tarrant C. Reflection in practice: How can patient experience feedback trigger staff reflection in hospital acute care settings? Health Expectations 2019;23:396-404
  • 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 2019;14(4).
  • 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 2019;25(11):1356-63.
  • 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 2019;33(7):756-65.
  • Sutton E, Brewster L, Tarrant C. (2019) Making infection prevention and control everyone’s business? Hospital staff views on patient involvement. Health Expectations 2019;20(4):650-656
  • Krockow EM, Colman AM, Chattoe-Brown E, Jenkins D, Perera N, Mehtar S, Tarrant C. Balancing the risks to individual and society: a systematic review and synthesis of qualitative research on antibiotic prescribing behavior in hospitals. Journal of Hospital Infection 2019:101(4): 428-439. 


Social and behavioural factors in antibiotic overuse in healthcare

Development and evaluation of interventions to improve healthcare

Ethnographic methods in healthcare improvement

Social dilemmas in healthcare quality and safety

Collective approaches to improvement 


I teach on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes including the MRes in Applied Health Research unit on qualitative methods I act as unit lead and teach across several units on the MSc in Quality and Safety in Healthcare.

Press and media

Ethnographic research in healthcare

Evaluating healthcare improvement


I am an Associate Editor for the journal BMJ Quality and Safety, an expert advisory group member for several research projects funded by Wellcome and NIHR, and a member of the NIHR PGfAR funding committee.


I am a Chartered Psychologist and hold a HEA Senior Fellowship.

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