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Bradford psychologist who looks at stories behind statistics given life membership of BPS


Dr Peter Branney

A University of Bradford academic has been made an honorary life member of the British Psychological Society for his work on helping improve healthcare services and the patient experience.

Dr Peter Branney, associate professor in the School of Social Sciences in the Faculty of Management, Law and Social Sciences, said he was honoured by the award.

Dr Branney said: “It’s an incredible privilege and I feel honoured to have been made a life member. I have been involved with the society for over 20 years. I am very much focused on giving people transferable skills so they can go out and help people with day to day challenges.

“In terms of the work I do, statistics are very good at showing us trends but they do not necessarily tell the stories that sit behind those trends, for example people’s experiences. When you are diagnosed with a life-changing condition and thinking about choosing treatment, you can look at facts and figures but it’s often people’s experiences that have more influence.”

Dr Branney is a former Chair of the BPS Senate and a member of its board of trustees and has been instrumental in promoting its psychological government’ programme that seeks to put psychological consideration on a par with economic issues.

He is known internationally for his innovative research exploring how men and women engage with healthcare, how they experience threats to their health, and how to improve healthcare interactions.

What distinguishes his research is its focus on applying social psychological theories to challenging and sensitive aspects of healthcare service and delivery, such as Crohn’s and Colitis and incontinence.

He led the first national study of Patients’ Experiences of Penile Cancer (PEPC), which is published on the award winning and featured on BBC Radio 4’s Inside Health, the BPS Impact Portal, and The Guardian. He is currently lead for the quality of life elements of the International Penile Advanced Cancer Trial, which is recruiting in 17 sites, across two continents and over a 10-year period that includes two points of randomisation and a Bayesian design.

His research focuses on the human stories behind statistics, which he says help demystify and de-stigmatise often upsetting health conditions, such as penile cancer.

Dr Branney also played a significant role in redeveloping the BPS’s strategic policy focus, which has since discussed a wide range of topical issues relating to psychology, including the mental health of children and young people in care and whether psychologists should have prescribing rights, some of which have led to Early Day Motions in the House of Commons.

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