Dr Rachel O'Hara BSc, MSc, CPsychol


Section of Public Health
School of Health and Related Research
University of Sheffield
Regent Court
30 Regent Street
S1 4DA

Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 0680
Fax: (+44) (0)114 222 0749

Room: 2037, 2nd Floor, Regent Court

email : r.ohara@sheffield.ac.uk

ORCiD: 0000-0003-4074-6854


I am a Chartered Occupational Psychologist with a specific interest in occupational health and safety. My first degree was in Human Communication, followed by a postgraduate diploma in Psychology and an MSc in Occupational Psychology. In 1999 I completed a part-time doctorate at the University of Sheffield, studying the management of musculoskeletal pain at work.

I have been at the University of Sheffield since 2006 and am a Senior Lecturer in Public Health. I previously worked at the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) conducting research on safety and risk management. Prior to that I was employed as lecturer in Psychology and Communication Skills at Imperial College School of Medicine. 

Research Interests

My current research interests include:-

  • Patient safety
  • Human factors in healthcare
  • Safety culture

I am interested in supervising research students in topics/areas such as Patient Safety, Organisational Culture and Safety Culture in Healthcare.

Teaching Interests

My current teaching responsibilities include:

  • Theme lead for Public Health teaching (Behavioural and Population Health Sciences) in Phase 2a and 3b of the Undergraduate Medical Degree (MBChB).
  • Supervision of masters dissertations
  • Supervision of postgraduate research students.

My teaching interests and activities are in the areas of Psychology Applied to Medicine and Health Behaviour, Patient Safety, Evidence Based Medicine and Critical Appraisal.

Professional Activities

Member of the British Psychological Society.
Member of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology.
Associate Member of the Ergonomics Society.

Current and Recent Projects

  • Goodacre S, Fletcher A, Hutchinson A, Nicholl J, Coster J, Gibson A, O'Hara R. Safety for Patients through Quality Review (SPQR). DOH PRP (16-02-03). Jun 2017-May 2019. £551,743.
  • O'Cathain A, Coster J, Jacques R, James C, Knowles E, Marsh M, O'Hara R, Siriwardena N, Turner J, Williams J, Hughes R. Understanding variation in rates of ambulance service ‘non-conveyance of patients to an emergency department’. NIHR/HS&DR 13/54/75 Jan 2015-April 2017, £385,634.
  • O’Hara R, O'Keefe C, Johnson M. Pre-hospital care for patients in the Y&H region presenting to the Ambulance Service with issues related to mental health problems. CLAHRC RCF Avoidable Attendances and Admissions theme in collaboration with the mental health theme. Jul 2014-Mar 2015, £25,000.
  • O'Hara R, Mason S, Turner J, Siriwardena A N, Quinn T, Weymann A, Shewan J, Hirst E.  Decision making and safety in emergency care transitions.
    NIHR/SDO 10/1007/53, May 2011-October 2013, £168,690.
  • Parry G, Barkham M, Curran J, Saxon D, Chambers E, O'Hara R.  Understanding and preventing adverse effects of psychological therapies (AdEPT), NIHR/RfPB, January 2011 - May 2014, £262,000.
  • Mason S, O'Keefe C, O'Hara R, Carter A, Stride C, Needham G, Fletcher A, Grant J, Darlison B.  The impact of foundation doctor training on workforce wellbeing and patient care (EDiT), NIHR/SDO 08/1819/221, August  2008- July 2012, £474,678.

Key Publications

O'Hara R, Bishop-Edwards L, Knowles E, O'Cathain A. Variation in the delivery of telephone advice by emergency medical services: a qualitative study in three services. BMJ Qual Saf Published Online First: 12 January 2019.

O’Cathain A, Knowles E, Bishop-Edwards L, Coster J, Crum A, Jacques R, James C, Lawson R, Maggie M, O’Hara R, Siriwardena AN, Stone S, Turner J, Williams J. Understanding variation in ambulance service non-conveyance rates: a mixed methods study. Health Serv Deliv Res 2018;6(19).

De Freitas L, Goodacre S, O’Hara R, Thokala P, Hariharan S. Interventions to improve patient flow in emergency departments: an umbrella review. Emerg Med J. 2018 Aug 9:emermed-2017.

Dibben P, Wood G, O’Hara R. Do return to work interventions for workers with disabilities and health conditions achieve employment outcomes and are they cost effective? A systematic narrative review. Employee Relations. 2018 Jul 9.

Hardy GE, Bishop-Edwards L, Chambers E, Connell J, Dent-Brown K, Kothari G, O’Hara R, Parry GD. Risk factors for negative experiences during psychotherapy. Psychotherapy Research. 2017 Oct 28:1-2.

Johnson M, O’Hara R, Hirst E, Weyman A, Turner J, Mason S, Quinn T, Shewan J, Siriwardena AN. Multiple triangulation and collaborative research using qualitative methods to explore decision making in pre-hospital emergency care. BMC medical research methodology. 2017 Jan 24;17(1):11.

Piney M, Llewellyn D; O'Hara R, Saunders C J, Cocker J, Jones K, Fishwick D. Reducing isocyanate exposure and asthma risk in motor vehicle repair. International Journal of Workplace Health Management 2015 8 (4): 272 - 283.

O’Hara R, Johnson M, Siriwardena AN, Weyman A, Turner J, Shaw D, Mortimer P, Newman C, Hirst E, Storey M, Mason S, Quinn T, Shewan J. A qualitative study of systemic influences on paramedic decision making: care transitions and patient safety, Journal of Health Services Research & Policy 2015; 20 (Supplement 1): 45-53.

O’Hara R, Johnson M, Hirst E, Weyman A, Shaw D, Mortimer P, et al. A qualitative study of decision-making and safety in ambulance service transitions. Health Serv Deliv Res 2014;2(56).

Mason S, O'Keeffe C, Carter A, O'Hara R, Stride C.  An evaluation of foundation doctor training: a mixed-methods study of the impact on workforce well-being and patient care [the Evaluating the Impact of Doctors in Training (EDiT) study].  Health Serv Deliv Res 2013;1(15).

O'Hara R, O'Keefe C, Mason S, Coster J and Hutchinson A. Quality and Safety of Care Provided by Emergency Care Practitioners. Emergency Medical Journal 2012; 29:327-332.