Following the unprecedented impact and strain that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the NHS and social care, both the public and the healthcare sector believe politicians must prioritise the improvement of both patient and healthcare worker safety.
The Safety for All white paper, Patient and Healthcare Worker Safety – Two sides of the same coin, is published today by the Safety for All campaign, set up by the Safer Healthcare and Biosafety Network (SHBN), an independent forum focused on improving healthcare worker and patient safety, including Patient Safety Learning and the Association of British HealthTech Industries.
The white paper sets out the symbiotic relationship between healthcare worker safety and patient safety and that you cannot have one without the other. The pandemic has shone a light on the interconnection of these two issues, from the importance of effective infection control to ensuring healthcare professionals feel safe to speak up about incidents of unsafe care. This white paper makes the case for a new focus and priority for improvements in, and between, patient and healthcare worker safety to prevent safety incidents and deliver better outcomes for all.
Dean Russell MP, a member of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, said:
“The NHS estimates that there are 11,000 avoidable deaths in the UK each year due to patient safety incidents. We must look at the issue of patient safety holistically. If we can change our approach then then we can reduce the number of serious safety incidents. Also, if we ensure, in the transition back to normality following the pandemic, that the safety of healthcare workers is a priority this will also impact positively on patient safety.”
Jonathan Hazan, chair of Patient Safety Learning, said:
“I welcome the publication of the Safety for All white paper with its focus on the relationship between patient safety and staff safety. At Patient Safety learning, we have always understood that improvements in one area reinforce safety in the other. We recognise that avoidable harm has complex causes and to address them, we must transform the system so that patient safety is core to the purpose of health and social care, not just one of many competing priorities. We are engaging with politicians, healthcare organisations, professionals and patients to push for the system-wide change which will result in the reduction of harm. Dean Russell and his colleagues in Parliament have a key role in improving safety and we look forward to working with them.”
Mike Fairbourn, Board Member of the Association of British HealthTech Industries, said:
“Today the Safety for All campaign is launching its white paper called “Patient and Healthcare Worker Safety – Two sides of the same coin”. This makes the case for a new focus and priority for improvements in, and between, patient and healthcare worker safety to prevent safety incidents and deliver better outcomes for all. There needs to be a better understanding and advocacy of the mutual benefits to be accrued for patient safety by improving healthcare worker safety, and vice versa. Safety needs to be a core purpose for both the NHS and social care and for patient and workplace safety, with greater support for staff and for them to speak up following patient safety incidents.”
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Source: Safer Healthcare and Biosafety Network (20 October 2021)