MCRU Evaluating health services

Established in 1966, the Medical Care Research Unit (MCRU) is one of the UK's leading health services research groups.


The Medical Care Research Unit has been conducting high quality health services research for almost 50 years. Our aim is to carry out research that influences health care practice and policy for the benefit of NHS patients and the public. We describe and evaluate services and technologies to measure the impact on patient outcomes, service effectiveness and the wider social and economic effects.

Our aim is to help improve people’s health through high quality research. Currently members of our research unit are Chief Investigators on over £6 million and co-investigators on over £4 million of research funded by the National Institute of Health and the Medical Research Council.

MCRU staff provide support to ScHARR Postgraduate Taught Programmes and Postgraduate Research Students undertaking PhD studies.

Research Themes

Developing and evaluating new interventions

We collaborate with clinicians, social scientists and clinical trials units to develop interventions and then test them in randomised control trials (RCTs).

STOP-OHSS (Shaping and Trialling Outpatient Protocols for Ovarian HyperStimulation Syndrome): A feasibility study and randomised controlled trial, with internal pilot, to assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of earlier active management of OHSS. We lead the qualitative research.

ACTiF - developed a theory-informed telehealth intervention to reduce exacerbations in adults with cystic fibrosis by helping them to adhere to their nebuliser treatment. Planning an RCT of 700 people.

WILD – modified a main stream commercial weight loss programme for use with people with learning disabilities.

Healthlines - developed a theory based telehealth intervention to improve the health of people with depression and people with high risk of cardiovascular disease. Two RCTs of 600 people each showed that the intervention had a modest effect for depression and improved some risk factors such as high blood pressure and weight.

Evaluating established services

PROMS - How do Third Sector Organisations measure outcomes routinely for well-being services

IDEA - The Invasive Dentistry – Endocarditis Association Study

PJI - Do Invasive Dental Procedures Cause Prosthetic Joint Infections?

VAN - explaining variation in non-conveyance rates between Emergency Medical Services (ambulance services). A mixed methods study using routine data, non-participant observation and qualitative interviews.

DEUCE - identifying drivers of demand for emergency and urgent care. A mixed methods study using realist synthesis, qualitative interviews and a national survey.

Methodological Research

We improve how researchers do research. MRC Methodology funding:

QUART - Maximising the value of qualitative research in randomised controlled trials

INDEX (Identifying and assessing different approaches to developing complex interventions)

The MRC ConDuCT-II Hub – Collaboration and innovation in difficult and complex randomised controlled trials in invasive procedures.

Over the years we have written about how best to undertake Mixed Methods research.

We specialise in:

mixed methods research
qualitative research (non-participant observation, interviews, focus groups)
qualitative evidence synthesis
participatory-based research

Teaching, PhDs and Knowledge Transfer

  • Dr. Elizabeth Croot is the Director of Masters in Clinical Research
  • We supervise 7 PhD candidates
  • We run short courses in intervention development and using qualitative research with randomised controlled trials
  • As part of knowledge transfer, MCRU are involved in supporting charities and third sector organisations to evaluate the impact of their work. This has included undertaking mixed methods studies to evaluate the impact of a national social prescribing scheme for people experiencing loneliness delivered by the British Red Cross and programmes delivered by Cruse bereavement services such as emotional support for emergency service personnel. Methods have included statistical analysis of routinely collected data and outcome measures to capture changes in wellbeing, qualitative methods to explore peoples’ experiences and Social Return on Investment analysis to understand whether services provide value for money. All evaluations have been delivered in conjunction with the third sector organisations to ensure the research produces useful learning for them. If you would like further information on how we can support research and evaluations please contact


  • We collaborate with third sector organisations, clinicians, and industry.

Our contact details are:

School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR)
University of Sheffield
Regent Court
30 Regent Street
S1 4DA

Telephone: 0114 222 0751

Fax: 0114 222 0749

For further information, please contact: Veronica Fibisan

Follow updates and news on Twitter through #MCRU_ScHARR 

Please feel free to get in touch with us.