Study Aim

The ROWTATE (Return to Work After Trauma) study aims develop a programme to help moderately and severely injured patients return to work and assess how well it works.


Moderate or severe traumatic injuries can be life changing or life threatening; often caused by road accidents, falls, sporting injuries or assaults. Such injuries are common, but more patients now survive due to improved care and recently developed Major Trauma Centres. However, many suffer physical and psychological problems, reducing quality of life and the chance of returning to work. We recently found one third of these patients have not returned to work after one year and many suffered physical, psychological and financial problems. Despite Major Trauma Centres, rehabilitation and help for injured people to return to work is patchy and poorly developed. We know being in work is good for physical and psychological health. Individualised support (vocational rehabilitation) can help patients with some conditions (e.g. back pain, spinal cord or brain injuries, mental health problems) to stay in or return to work. We have already developed a vocational rehabilitation programme for people with brain injuries. As trauma includes many different types of injuries which result in different work-related problems, we now need to adapt the programme to cover these and test how well it works.

Design and methods

Initially we will talk to patients, NHS service providers and commissioners to ensure our vocational rehabilitation programme (called ROWTATE) meets patients’ needs and is realistic to provide in the NHS. ROWTATE will then be provided to a small number of patients in 2 Major Trauma Centres to see if it is acceptable to patients and identify any problems with it's delivery. This will help improve ROWTATE so we can test it in a large scale trial in about 700 patients. We will measure how many injured people receiving ROWTATE return to work 12 months later and compare this to people who have not received the programme. We will measure physical, psychological and financial problems and assess if ROWTATE saves the NHS, patients and wider society more than it costs to provide. We will also explore factors which help or hinder rolling out ROWTATE across the NHS.

Patient and public involvement

We will work closely with a group of trauma survivors, led by Trevor Jones and involve them throughout the project including overall management and in individual studies. They will advise us, undertake some aspects of the research, as well as contributing to analysing data, interpreting findings, writing reports for publication and advising on communicating our results to the public.


We will develop a plan to publicise our findings to policy makers, NHS providers and commissioners, employers, charities, patient organisations and the public using different methods and types of media.

The study has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) programme grant for applied research.

For more information, please contact: Kay Bridger 

Study leads

Principal Investigators:

Dr Kate Radford

Prof Denise Kendrick

Study co-ordinator:

Dr Blerina Kellezi

Study sponsor:

Dr Maria Koufali

C4TS lead:

Dr Karen Hoffman


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