NHS staff across the South East are choosing Tuesday 17 September – World Patient Safety Day – to highlight their ongoing commitment to maintaining safe, high quality care to all patients.
Patient Safety, something we all take for granted, remains a global health priority, and NHS organisations are adding their collective voice to “shout out” just how important patient safety is.
The first national patient safety strategy for the NHS was also published recently to support NHS staff and organisations to ensure that all care provided in GP practices; hospitals or the community is provided in the safest possible way.
The new NHS England and NHS Improvement strategy sets a vision of continuous safety improvement, underpinned by a safety culture and effective safety systems. Key features include a safety syllabus and training for all staff; a requirement for all NHS organisations to identify a specialist to lead on patient safety; a new national incident management system; the involvement of patients and a national patient safety improvement programme.
Everyone who works in the NHS plays their part in delivering patient safety; and practical innovative ideas are encouraged and often adopted to improve the ongoing care of patients.
Interim Chief Nurse for the NHS in the South East, Sally Allum, welcomed the opportunity that World Patient Safety Day provides to raise the profile and importance of patient safety.
She said: “ We trust doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to support us when we are at our most vulnerable and NHS staff work hard each day to deliver the best possible care to patients. Our vision is for an NHS that continuously improves patient safety, no matter where care is provided, and we are continuously learning and adapting our practices to improve patient safety. Through the new national NHS Patient Safety Strategy, we will continue working to empower staff and patients with the skills, confidence and means to help us keep improving patient safety further. These are just a few of the excellent examples that demonstrate our commitment to patient safety.”
Below are just a few South East examples of innovative ideas that have been implemented and are delivering real improvements in patient safety:
As our population is living longer with chronic and long-term diseases, it is becoming more common for people to take a number of medicines on a long-term basis, but this can increase the risk of negative side-effects as a result of interactions between different medications when they are taken in combination. As a result, pharmacists in North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area are helping local GP practices, with medication reviews for patients who are taking numerous medicines, to ensure they are receiving the appropriate medication for their needs and aren’t being over-medicated. A dedicated pharmacist has already undertaken over 250 medication reviews for local care home residents, resulting in over 800 follow up actions and a reduction in the average number of medicines taken by each patient. GP practices have also been able to identify those patients at greater risk of acute kidney injury due to their age and the combination of medications they are taking, which resulted in a fall in the number of patients prescribed medication that could have an adverse effect on their kidneys.
‘Web beds’ tool
In another example, a midwife developed a simple online tool that can be used by healthcare professionals to quickly identify available beds in specialist units that support mothers who need to be admitted for specialist perinatal mental health care, so that they can receive the care they need alongside their babies.
Women who experience mental health problems in pregnancy or in the first year after their child is born can develop severe symptoms which can deteriorate rapidly and require urgent treatment. The ‘Web Beds’ tool, developed by the Wessex Strategic Clinical Network displays instant bed availability across the country and aims to ensure women going through such a mental health crisis can swiftly get the specialist care they need, as close to home as possible.
Prior to the introduction of the system, healthcare staff would need to call individual mother and baby units to identify if they had a bed available for a patient, which could take some time. The NHS mother and baby units can now update information about their bed availability on a daily basis, making it easier for healthcare professionals to identify treatment options for their patients and ensuring women can get the specialist care they need as quickly as possible.
Across Surrey and Hampshire, a new scheme introduced within the Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care System (ICS), is the ‘catheter passport’ which will improve the care and safety of patients who need catheterisation (a procedure used to drain a patient’s bladder). The ‘catheter passport’ provides bespoke clinical advice and information tailored to individual patients, it ensures that healthcare professionals and patients have a better understanding of how their individual care is managed – safely helping to reduce unnecessary catheterisations, infections and also avoidable hospital admissions.
Quality surveillance reporting
An innovative electronic data capture system has been introduced to support quality surveillance. The system is able to collect feedback from health care professionals, patients and their families (through complaints and concerns) about healthcare services in the Fareham and Gosport and South-Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group areas, enabling early identification of service failure and patient safety issues. The tool brings together a range of information in one place, to give a complete picture of how local NHS services are delivering care. The system has helped the local NHS reduce unnecessary differences in safety practices and feedback has also resulted in changes to improve patient experience.
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About NHS England and NHS Improvement:
Leads the National Health Service (NHS) in England – setting the priorities and direction, encouraging and informing the national debate to improve health and care.
The NHS in England deals with over 1 million patients every 24 hours and employs more than 1.5 million people, putting it in the top five of the world’s largest workforces NHS England shares out more than £100 billion in funds and holds organisations to account for spending this money effectively for patients and efficiently for the tax payer. It strongly believes in health and high quality care for all, now and for future generations.