System-wide action needed to improve safety in healthcare
Today, Dean Russell MP, a member of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, with the charity Patient Safety Learning and the Safety for All campaign, are hosting a Parliamentary reception with MPs, Peers and representatives of the wider patient safety and healthcare community.
Each year in the UK thousands of people are killed and harmed as a result of unsafe care, costing the NHS billions of pounds for additional treatment, support, and compensation costs relating to litigation by those harmed. Following the unprecedented impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has placed on health and social care, both the public and the healthcare sector believe politicians must prioritise the improvement of both patient and healthcare worker safety.
At this reception politicians and members of the wider healthcare community will discuss how we can harness the knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment of healthcare organisations, professionals and patients for system-wide change, to improve care and reduce avoidable harm to patients and healthcare workers.
This event also marks the launch by the Safety for All campaign of a new guide for Staff directly involved in a serious safety incident. This step-by-step good practice guide sets out how to ensure we support staff involved in serious safety incidents better, so that these can be more effectively investigated and result in learning and improvement. It is also an opportunity to discuss the recently published report, Mind the implementation gap: The persistence of avoidable harm in the NHS, which highlights a patient safety implementation gap in the UK that results in the continuation of avoidable harm.
Dean Russell MP said: “I am delighted to host this event to reinvigorate parliamentary action in improving patient and healthcare worker safety. The NHS estimates that there are 11,000 avoidable deaths in the UK each year due to patient safety incidents. We must look at the issue of patient safety holistically. If we can change blame culture and allow workers to be open and learn from mistakes, then we can reduce the number of serious safety incidents. Also, if we ensure, in the transition back normality following the pandemic, that the safety of healthcare workers is a priority this will also impact positively on patient safety.”
Jonathan Hazan, Chair of Patient Safety Learning, said: “Patient Safety Learning is working to make patient safety the core purpose of health and social care, not just one of many priorities to be traded with others. We engage with politicians, healthcare organisations, professionals and patients to campaign for system change and we work together on projects to reduce harm to patients. Dean Russell MP and his colleagues in Parliament can play a major role in improving safety and we look forward to working with them.”
Dr. Paul Grime, Chairman of Safer Healthcare Biosafety Network (SHBN), said: “Today’s reception is a chance for the patient safety and wider healthcare community to meet and discuss how we can harness the knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment of healthcare organisations, professionals and patients for system-wide change, to improve care and reduce avoidable harm to patients and healthcare workers. The Safety for All campaign will be pressing MPs and Peers here today and those in leadership roles within the NHS and social care to address these recommendations and lend their support to the campaign and the practical actions we are taking to deliver safety for all.”
Ian Duncalf, Chair of Patient Safety Group at ABHI, said: “The Patient Safety group at the Association of British HealthTech Industries has been supporting and helping to deliver the patient and staff safety agenda for many years. The ABHI are very pleased to be supporting the work of the Safety for All campaign, which with Patient Safety Learning, is now implementing the practical plan, activities and deliverables of the campaign over the next year and beyond. I am delighted that I am joined today by members of the Safer Healthcare and Biosafety Network and the Safety for All campaign Industry Group who are committed to delivering improved patient and staff safety outcomes.”
Patient Safety Learning
Patient Safety Learning is a charity and independent voice for improving patient safety. We harness the knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment of healthcare organisations, professionals and patients for system-wide change and the reduction of harm. We support safety improvement through policy, influencing and campaigning and the development of ‘how to’ resources such as the hub, our free award-winning platform to share learning for patient safety.
Safer Healthcare and Biosafety Network and Safety for All campaign
The Safer Healthcare and Biosafety Networks an independent forum focused on improving healthcare worker and patient safety and has been in existence more than 20 years. It is made up of clinicians, professional associations, trades unions and employers, manufacturers and government agencies with the shared objective to improve occupational health and safety and patient safety in healthcare. COVID-19 pandemic has provided a stark reminder of the vital role healthcare professionals play in providing care to those in our society who need it most and this was recognized in the WHO Patient Safety Day in September 2020: only when healthcare workers are safe can patients be safe. In 2020, the Network launched a campaign called ‘Safety for All’ to improve practice in, and between, patient and healthcare worker safety to prevent safety incidents and deliver better outcomes for all.
The Safety for All white paper is calling for improvements in, and between, patient and healthcare worker safety to prevent safety incidents and deliver better outcomes for all by:
- Improved understanding and advocacy of the mutual benefits to be accrued for patient safety by improving healthcare worker safety, and vice versa, and of the common risks, factors and interventions across patient and healthcare worker safety
- The application of shared learning and best practice between workplace and patient safety and, where appropriate, aligned or integrated synergistic solutions in safety systems, standards, governance and preventive measures
- Resources, leadership and staff committed to a stronger, reciprocal patient and workplace safety culture, with safety as a core purpose for both, underpinned by better education and training
- Greater support for staff, and for them to speak up, following patient safety incidents, including a safety care pathway for both patients and staff, and to ingrain a just culture
- Improved risk management and reporting of safety incidents, learning and communication across patient and healthcare worker safety
Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI)
ABHI is the UK’s leading industry association for health technology (HealthTech). ABHI supports the HealthTech community to save and enhance lives. Members, including both multinationals and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), supply products from syringes and wound dressings to surgical robots and digitally enhanced technologies. We represent the industry to stakeholders, such as the government, NHS and regulators. HealthTech plays a key role in supporting delivery of healthcare and is a significant contributor to the UK’s economic growth. HealthTech is now the largest employer in the broader Life Sciences sector, employing 131,800 people in 4,060 companies, with a combined turnover of £25.6bn. The industry has enjoyed growth of around 5% in recent years. ABHI’s 320 members account for approximately 80% of the sector by value.