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‘Innovation put over safety’ at world-famous hospital

A world-famous hospital has a culture where some staff may put research interests above patient safety, according to an external investigation.

A report published yesterday cited some employees at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children Foundation Trust as saying “they feel that the hospital sometimes put too much emphasis on pushing the boundaries of science” and “are concerned [this] may lead to a culture where some prioritise innovation over safety in their practice”.

The trust’s medical director Sanjiv Sharma commissioned the report into the effectiveness of its safety procedures, from consultancy Verita, in 2020, after families of several patients who died at the hospital raised concerns in the media about how it responded to safety incidents.

The report said: “We believe that it is sometimes culturally difficult within Great Ormond Street to accept that things can go wrong and to respond appropriately. We were told that some see the organisation as ‘bullet-proof’ in the face of criticism."

“There is also a view outside the trust that some clinicians at Great Ormond Street can find it difficult to accept that something had gone wrong. Some believe that this reflex is deeply ingrained. This is potentially indicative of a culture of defensiveness. Acknowledging this trait is the first step on the road to changing it.”

Dr Sharma said in a statement yesterday that GOSH had already taken steps to improve its culture and systems, appointing patient safety educators and patient safety leads in each directorate.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 7 July 2022


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