Patient safety

Huddle sheets

Project Sphere, a working group seeking to improve patient safety across dentistry, has produced the huddle sheets. These aim to embed the practice of undertaking safety huddles which are regularly performed across secondary care, amongst primary oral health and dental care teams. Through encouraging non-judgemental, open reflection when anticipating and reviewing patient safety events, a culture of fairness, openness and learning can be further instilled across primary dental care settings, moving away from a perceived blame culture.

Research on patient safety in dentistry has identified barriers to recording patient safety events, such as fear of reprisals, lack of education and inaccessibility of reporting forms. These huddle sheets intend to address those barriers, whilst complementing existing dental patient safety standards and toolkits, as well as the NHS Patient Safety Strategy.

The huddle sheets aim to facilitate systematic evaluation of the impact of patient safety events on clinical sessions/days and team members, identifying any potential additional support and training required. Maintaining patient safety continues to be a responsibility equally shared amongst the entire dental team and all team members are encouraged to engage with and lead the huddle sessions.

The documents provided:

  1. Daily safety huddle sheet: provides a framework for discussion, enabling issues to be raised at the start/end of a session. Can be performed verbally, as well as written down.
  2. Post-patient safety event huddle sheet: to be used shortly after a patient safety event, in conjunction with local incident reporting mechanisms.
  3. Reflection huddle sheet: to be used a significant amount of time after a safety incident, near-miss, or major event.
  4. Huddle supporting document: assists in the completion of the huddle sheets and encourages systematic evaluation of elements comprising the working system and environment. It prompts teams to identify human factors which can be modified to maximise performance and processes in primary dental care settings. It serves as a guide, created with the knowledge that each event and team are unique, possessing their own considerations.

We encourage teams to download and edit the huddle sheets, so that they may be adapted to meet individual practice needs. Maintaining copies of both the post-patient safety event and reflection huddle sheets is advised, to support and evidence learning.

The NHS Patient Safety Strategy also includes the NHS patient safety syllabus and training programme for the whole NHS. It is designed to help everyone who works in the NHS take all the necessary steps to ensure patients are safe whilst they are receiving care.