Non-Executive forum has lively debate about patient safety

  • 22nd May 2019
HFMA conference 21 May

On 16 May, the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) held a forum for NHS Chair, Non-Executive and Lay Members. These events are for members to learn more about current finance and governance-related issues, and to discuss and debate.

Chief Executive Helen Hughes presented on Patient Safety Learning's soon-to-be-published Blueprint for Action. View her full presentation.

Helen commented: "Participants engaged in a lively discussion about patient safety; how Non-Executive leaders recognise what more needs to be done to deliver a patient-safe future and what they want to see in their own organisations and across the health and social care system. We were delighted with the quality of the discussion and the strong support for Patient Safety Learning’s proposals in our Blueprint for Action."

Discussion highlighted the need for:

  • Culture change. Participants discussed the initiatives that some organisations are taking to respond to the challenges of blame and fear, and what more is needed to support and protect staff in improving patient safety.
  • The criticality of organisations having specialists in patient safety improvement and how essential expertise in human factors is to this. Some NHS Trusts are recognising this and making the investment, but much more is needed.
  • How commissioners’ perspectives and approaches for patient safety need to be further developed.
  • Business cases for patient safety to ensure that patient safety implications are properly assessed when decisions are made whether at national, organisational or service level.

Patient Safety Learning will be taking a lead role in promoting the development of the business case for patient safety and how patient safety cases are assessed. Helen said: “It’s not just the personal tragedy of harm that should motivate us, but also that unsafe care costs shockingly large amounts of money. We need to re-focus our efforts of designing for safety and investing in the skills of specialist human factors experts, clinicians and staff to do so. We are talking with HFMA about how we can work together on this, and how we can engage with finance directors as champions for safer care."

In the final section of Helen's session, she shared a new self-assessment framework that Patient Safety Learning has developed to support 'leadership for patient safety'.

“This new tool will allow boards to assess their progress against patient-safe future foundations. Everyone who fed back said how valuable it was; that it would enable them to engage with Executives on prioritising patient safety and that it would help their organisations scope future work programmes," said Helen.

Patient Safety Learning will be finalising this tool shortly and welcomes organisations to get in touch if they would like to embed this innovative approach in their patient safety improvement programmes.

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