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Adopting the New Patient Safety Strategy

“Safer culture, safer systems, safer patients” is the goal of the new NHS Patient Safety Strategy launched last month. At Miad Healthcare we’ve been training in line with the Incident Response Framework since 2015 and we can only see positive outcomes for patients, their families and the NHS as a result of the new strategy and framework.

The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) calculates that unsafe care adds 15% to healthcare costs and according to the NHS, improving patient safety could save almost 1,000 extra lives and £100 million in care costs each year from 2023/24. Plus, the potential exists to reduce claims provision by around £750 million per year by 2025.
So, how will the new strategy help to achieve this?

The philosophy behind the new patient safety strategy
The 2015 Serious Incident Framework detailed when and how the NHS should investigate serious incidents. However, compelling evidence from national reviews, patients, families, carers and staff found that the framework did not consistently deliver on its goals.

A focus on “maximising the things that go right and minimising the things that go wrong for people experiencing healthcare” is the philosophy behind the new approach. By building on previous experience, it is possible to ensure that every opportunity is taken to improve patient safety as the strategy is adopted and embraced across all areas of the healthcare system.
An article published in the BMJ at the end of last month highlights the importance of culture and systems in implementing the new strategy which is “…designed to encourage staff to speak up and contribute to continuous improvement, by learning and acting when things go wrong.”

A just culture
Reviews of the Serious Incident Framework and NHS Improvement narrative highlight culture and systems as the drivers of patient safety. Dr Aidan Fowler, national director of patient safety, said at the launch of the new strategy that:

“‘Just cultures in the NHS are too often thwarted by fear and blame. A consistent message in the consultation responses was that fear is too prevalent across NHS staff, particularly in relation to involvement in patient safety incidents.”

The new NHS Patient Safety Strategy echoes this and calls for a more collaborative approach to patient safety: “The mistaken belief persists that patient safety is about individual effort. People too often fear blame and close ranks, losing sight of the need to improve”.

Culture hand-in-hand with systems
At Miad Healthcare we’ve been designing a training programme around the new strategy and Patient Safety Incident Response Framework that will help participants develop the patient safety vision within their team and organisation by building on the themes of a patient safety culture and system.

Here are the key takeaways from the new strategy and framework:

  • A positive patient safety culture:  The new framework aspires to a system where staff feel psychologically safe, experience good leadership at all levels, a sense of teamwork and openness and support for learning.
  • Patient focus: There must be transparency and support for those affected. The framework introduces national standards and standard report templates.
  • Resources where they are most needed: Incidents that give the best opportunity for learning will be prioritised. More resources will be put towards learning from serious incidents and the timeframe for investigation will be more flexible.
  • The role of the Primary Care Network (PCN): bring the opportunity to promote a safety culture and to ensure that patient safety is intrinsic and “owned across health and social care, with common standards and shared learning for patient safety.”

This is a move from a focus on investigation of incidents to a holistic view of patient safety that has the potential to benefit the overall system as well as patients, their loved ones and staff.

Patient safety and learning from incidents
If you, or members of your team, would like to know more about adopting the new NHS Patient Safety Framework, Miad Healthcare is offering a one-day course that covers:

  • A systems approach to patient safety
  • The Patient Safety Incident Response Framework
  • How to learn from incidents using a systems-based patient safety investigation
  • Applying the Just Culture framework
  • Human factors in safety management
  • Creating and embedding safe systems
  • Patient involvement

Please get in touch with the team to find out more.

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What Our Clients Say...

  • Ruth Frost, Provider Development Lead/Advisor, Health London Partnerships, NHS England. - Miad were a pleasure to work with, engaging, perceptive and flexible to the changing needs as the programme rolled out. They engaged well with the wide range of General Practice
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