Unsafe care is one of the ten leading causes of death and disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), while the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimate that unsafe care accounts for 15% of total hospital activity and expenditure in OECD countries. In the UK alone, there are 11,000 avoidable deaths each year.
We need to end avoidable harm. To keep patients safe, we need to design for safety every aspect of the health and social care system; we need system-wide change.
We believe there are three main ways Patient Safety Learning can create and maintain systemic change for safer care, each of which need to occur concurrently.
Putting words into action
Many people have been doing good work over the last 20 years, but patient safety remains a persistent problem. The case for action has already been made; there is now an urgent need to take action.
In 2018, we published our Green Paper, describing what the patient-safe future looks like. In 2019, we published A Blueprint for Action. Underpinned by systemic analysis and evidence, it proposes practical actions to address the foundations of safer care for patients. In brief:
In the patient-safe future, safety is the purpose of healthcare rather than a priority competing against other priorities.
For the patient-safe future to become a reality, instead of focusing on responding to harm, we need to design for safety. We need to move from being reactive
to become proactive in keeping patients safe. This means designing effective strategies for shared learning, leadership, professionalising patient safety, patient engagement, data and insight, and culture (these are our six foundations for safer care).
Systemic change is only possible when all stakeholders are engaged. We influence:
Leaders in health and social care, bringing the system together for safety.
By highlighting patient safety challenges so that gaps can be identified and addressed.
By being an independent voice for patient safety in response to emerging concerns, official reports and consultations.
Developing ‘how to’ resources
The third main way in which we create and maintain systemic change for safer care is by developing ‘how to’ resources. We do this in specific ways:
Shared learning: designed with input from patient safety professionals, clinicians and patients, the hubis our free shared learning platform for patient safety. It provides a powerful combination of tools, resources, stories, ideas, case studies and good practice to anyone who wants to make care safer for patients.
Policy: we contribute to and respond to government policies, parliamentary enquiries and reports, specialist reports and learning forums for patient safety.
Direct work with staff and patients: this includes networks, research, conferences, consultancy, training and patient organisations.
Developing organisational standards for patient safety using the evidence-based foundations in A Blueprint for Action: The introduction of patient safety standards will enable health and social care organisations to apply evidence-based criteria for evaluating, managing and improving patient safety performance.
Promoting patient safety good practice and policy: using the hub, we run and contribute to conference and webinars, and publish topical articles, blogs, videos and podcasts. We also promote good practice and policy using social media.
Campaigns: we identify and contribute to campaigns for patient safety improvements such as: