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Counterterrorism in the NHS: Evaluating Prevent Duty Safeguarding by Midlands Healthcare Providers

Principle Investigator: Dr Charlotte Heath-Kelly

Co-Investigator: Dr Erzsébet Strausz

The Prevent Duty became law in 2015 and requires healthcare providers to train their staff about the signs of radicalisation and how to report suspected patients/staff to safeguarding teams. The inclusion of counterterrorism safeguarding within the broader remit of healthcare safeguarding is novel, worldwide. Our study will explore how Midlands healthcare providers undertake their safeguarding responsibilities under the Prevent Duty, given that such procedures have not previously been attempted. This is a sociological study of Prevent Duty implementation by safeguarding teams in Midlands providers, designed to explore the success of embedding counterterrorism safeguarding within broader safeguarding mechanisms.

Our project is funded by a Wellcome Trust Seed Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The goals of the study are to analyse:

  1. what kinds of counter-terrorism expertise have been created in healthcare organisations through safeguarding teams and Prevent Duty training;
  2. how the Prevent safeguarding duty is implemented vis-à-vis medical ethics and information governance, and
  3. how counter-terrorism safeguarding is situated in histories of medico-security collaboration.

The project utilises literature reviews, expert interviews and a staff survery to explore 3 primary research questions:

  • how Prevent training operates within the healthcare sector (especially in the production of counterterrorism expertise);
  • the effects of counter-radicalisation training on the doctor-patient relationship;
  • the relationship between counter-radicalisation safeguarding and other forms of safeguarding (how successfully has the Prevent Duty been embedded?)