During the year the Trust board has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest levels of patient safety through its membership of the NHS Institute of Improvement and Innovation’s (NHSIII) Leadership in Patient Safety programme, and by signing up to the National Patient Safety First Campaign for England.
Key members of the organisation, including the chief executive, have received training as part of the programme and implemented a range of staff initiatives to improve safety, quality and the patient experience at every level.
The Trust board has carried out a full review of its assurance framework to ensure that patient safety issues are reported in the same way as risks relating to operational and financial activity. This work is supported by the Audit and Risk Committee, which provides detailed reviews of the key risks and assurance to the board that the identified safety issues are being adequately controlled.
Executive leadership ‘safety walkrounds’ have been introduced. These involve members of the board and other directors visiting clinical areas to meet staff to discuss patient safety and quality of care issues, to ensure that a culture of safety is promoted across the organisation.
In addition to this, the reporting of both actual and near miss incidents is encouraged to ensure these are discussed openly and lessons learned. This information is combined with national data, information from complaints and claims, and feedback from our patient advice and liaison service (PALS) to ensure that potential trends are identified and addressed as early as possible. Evidence-based practice is implemented in all areas to improve the quality and reliability of care throughout the organisation.
Health and safety
The Trust has identified three key themes to address health and safety concerns:
- Slips, trips and falls. While not the most frequent incidents, these account for the majority of major incidents which are reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) under Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).
- Manual handling injuries continue to be a concern within healthcare generally. Reviews are underway on risk assessments and training provision to increase expertise amongst staff.
- Needlestick injuries. The frequency of these incidents is relatively low, but their potential for harm means special emphasis is placed on this area.
Business continuity and emergency planning are essential to ensure the safety of patients and staff. Two major multi-agency live exercises tested our response to a major fire incident. The exercise at Harefield hospital proved valuable to our staff and members of the fire brigade as they tested their search and rescue skills. The Royal Brompton exercise involved the evacuation of ‘patients’ on ski sheets and the high level platform of the London Fire Brigade.
Further exercises and business continuity planning will take place in the coming year.