One year as a charity: our achievements and future ambitions

A blog by Helen Hughes, Chief Executive

  • 20th November 2019
One year as charity blog post

It's been one year since Patient Safety Learning's charitable status was officially recognised. To mark this occasion, I'd like to let you know about the work we've been able to achieve in that time, and what our plans are for the future.

A year of growing recognition and achieving our aims

Over the past year, we've increased our presence for safer care:

  • In March this year, we published our response to NHS Improvement's patient safety strategy consultation. This emphasised the importance of safety as a core purpose, the importance of designing for safety, focusing on the need for shared learning from both unsafe care and good practice, and the criticality of leadership with all organisations coordinating and sharing learning for safety. We were pleased to see that our response informed the final strategy, but we believe that more is needed, which is why we published our consultation Green Paper in September 2018. This was followed by....
  • Our report, A Blueprint for Action, which we published in June this year to build on our Green Paper. A Blueprint for Action sets out two core issues that contribute to the persistence of avoidable harm. One, that by treating patient safety as a 'priority', health and care organisations make the safety of patients open to compromise. Patient safety needs to be part of the core purpose of health and social care; it should not be negotiable. And, two, patient safety needs to be professionalised with clear standards, accreditation, leaderships and specialist staff, with all staff being suitably qualified and experienced for safety. In A Blueprint for Action, we identify six foundations of safer care, and propose a range of actions across these that need to be addressed to create a patient-safe future.
  • In September, we celebrated the first-ever World Patient Safety Day, publishing a blog post and releasing three short videos.

In our reports, we're calling for action. One of the big ways we've done this at Patient Safety Learning is by launching the hub, our shared learning platform for patient safety.

the hub has been designed with clinicians, patient safety experts and patients, and is a crucial online repository for sharing different experiences and perspectives of what has worked well, as well as case studies, research papers, blogs, investigation reports, policy guidance, and toolkits. the hub provides a platform where people can ask questions, seek advice and share ideas to improve patient safety.

We held our annual conference in October this year. Themed around our six foundations for safer care, the conference was well attended and received very positive feedback. One of the sessions in particular generated plenty of discussion both offline and online. The session, 'Leadership for patient safety', consisted of speakers Dr Elaine Maxwell, Clinical Advisor for the National Institute for Health Research; Tom Kark QC, who was senior counsel to the Mid Staffs Inquiry; and Professor Ted Baker, the chief inspector at the Care Quality Commission (CQC). In comments picked up by press present at the event, Baker said that, while the CQC had seen improvements in many of the areas on which it assesses NHS trusts, “safety has not moved on". For more detail about what is needed, please see A Blueprint for Action.

Also at the conference, we held our awards prize-giving. Our annual awards, where we celebrate and learn from successful patient safety initiatives, is another way Patient Safety Learning is helping to improve shared learning.

For more information about our award winners and their innovative initiatives, please see the hub.

We have ambitious plans for the year ahead

We have lots of plans for the future. You can read more about our thinking and proposed actions in A Blueprint for Action, but here are some of the projects we're currently working on:

  • Developing the hub further so it becomes a global repository for shared learning and information, accessible to healthcare professionals, patients and patient safety experts, and facilitating discussions to share ideas on improving patient safety.
  • Taking forward work on professionalising patient safety across the health and social care system by capturing standards into an Accreditation Framework for patient safety. This will encourage and enable organisations to achieve high standards of patient safety, based on the six evidence-based foundations identified in A Blueprint For Action, recent guidance, strategies and recommendations from major inquiries and reports.
  • Our third annual conference and continuing to celebrate patient safety successes with our annual Patient Safety Learning Awards.

My personal favourite conversations and content from the hub

I've been delighted to see the hub develop from an idea into the unique and innovative shared learning platform that it is today. Using the hub, the Patient Safety Learning Trustees and team have had the privilege of interacting with people from a range of backgrounds, all who are invested in working with others to make patient safety the core purpose of health and care in their different organisations and roles.

Here's a few reflections from the hub which I find particularly exciting:

Despite the challenges the health and social care sector faces in sharing for safety, such as pressure regarding funding and workforce capacity, we're committed, here at Patient Safety Learning, to support progress in this area. We're particularly proud of the opportunities the hub is giving us to pick up on patient and staff stories, bring issues to public attention and work with organisations to redesign the system.

At our conference in October, Tom Kark commented that "the hub could be a really useful tool for dissemination, of what people have learnt as a result of mistakes that have happened", while Ted Baker said, "the hub might be really revolutionary if we can all get invested in it and make it work."

If you haven't yet signed up for the hub, please can I encourage you to do so at Using the hub and social media, will you join us in the revolution and #share4safety?


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