Julian’s spotlight on safety!

No one should be harmed in health care. And yet, nationally, thousands of patients suffer avoidable harm every day while receiving care. This week saw the World Health Organisation’s very first World Patient Safety Day, a global campaign to create awareness of patient safety and urge people to show their commitment to making healthcare safer. In Dudley we dedicated the whole week to raising awareness.

Safety is at the heart of everything we do; it is also one of the key measures the CQC uses to assess our overall rating as a Trust. It is our ambition to receive an outstanding rating for safety and, to help us move towards this goal, a Patient Safety Strategy has been developed.

The strategy was ratified by the Board of Directors earlier this year and focuses on four key themes:

  1. Optimising the care of the deteriorating patient;
  2. Improving the understanding of human factors and the role they have in patient  safety;
  3. Optimising our patient safety culture; and
  4. Undertaking safe handovers of care both within hospital settings and to external agencies.

The strategy identifies the areas we know we need to focus on but it is the operational changes that will improve the safety of care delivered across the Trust.

Patient Safety week has been a great success in raising the profile of patient safety and highlighting our commitment to patient safety culture. We have run a number of activities this week including speaking to our patients about what safety means to them…overwhelmingly it is you, our staff that shapes the perception of safety. Patients talked about the professionalism of staff, the level of communication and if staff are clear about what is happening this reassures them. They also talked about staff having the competency to do their jobs instilling confidence which is the basis of our winning poster as part of the campaign. The clinical skills team won the competition with their post depicting education as the roots of safety.

I also particularly liked lighting up the building orange to support the national campaign.

We have already made significant progress to improve the care of our sickest patients. We have established a deteriorating patient pathway and our performance in the management of patients with sepsis is something we should be really proud of.

To make our hospital safer in the evening and weekends, we recently established a team of advanced care practitioners to work alongside our medical teams and critical care outreach. Likewise, the introduction of electronic solutions such as eObs and eSepsis supports teams to identify deteriorating patients quickly and consistently.

All of our executive colleagues have long recognised that the key to a safe hospital is the culture in which our staff operate and this is something we have been working hard to embed. We want you all to work in an environment where you feel able to raise concerns but also are free of the fear of blame. It is rare for an individual to be responsible for harm to a patient; the circumstances are usually multifactorial. What is most important is that we learn from our mistakes and build on our excellence which is why the introduction of the GREATix platform is so important.

We launched GREATix this week which will build even further on our patient safety culture by highlighting an learning from positive experiences, this is turn will emphasise improvement and learning. We believe this will drive a big improvement in outcomes but also help improve staff engagement.


This builds on the visits we’ve had from Michael West and Chris Turner and we were thrilled to see 60 people attend the grand round reflecting the increased awareness that we are promoting.


Future developments include Diploma’s in the management of deteriorating patients and the introduction of a learning from excellence programme. So watch this space for more patient safety news.

Finally safety is everyone’s responsibility, no matter what role you play in the organisation.

There are a few key points that the World Health Organisation’s campaign highlights that we can all support:

  • Work with the patient and colleagues to create an open and transparent patient safety culture.
  • Encourage blame-free reporting and learning from errors. Use GREATix!
  • Ensure continuous professional development to improve your skills and knowledge in patient safety
  • Stand up for patient safety by making a pledge on social media using the hashtag #patientsafety.

What will you do to make sure your patients are as safe as possible?