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What is most needed for health and care staff to feel safe at work?

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This year's theme for World Patient Safety Day (17 September) is Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety. We know that staff safety is intrinsically linked to patient safety but we need your insight to help us understand what matters most when it comes to feeling safe at work. So we're asking you to tell us:
 
What is most needed for health and care staff to feel physically or mentally safe at work?
 
In this short video, Claire Cox (Patient Safety Learning's Associate Director of Patient Safety and a Nurse) shares her top three.
 
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What do you think is most needed? Please join the conversation and help us speak up for health worker safety!   
 
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Hi All, 

I think your video identifies key areas that would allow us to feel safe at work. What I have found is the lack of clear information being a massive issue, more so during Pandemic times. This is not likely due to the individual trusts, but the change of messages in government on a national basis and the individual trusts adapting as necessary. Although this topic appears very clinical, I feel that members of staff need some certainty in these very uncertain times. Staff are adapting, changing and being flexible with their practices which can be stressful and put a strain on a team & systems. I appreciate that in health care, we constantly change our practices, but this topic is much more personal than previous. This pandemic is indiscriminate, and has the potential to affect staff, staff families, friends, colleagues and so on. When so many health and social care workers have been affected and have died due to this pandemic, the change in practices on top of this, is a lot for people to take in. 

The problem I fear we have now, is that a lot of staff are "bracing for impact" and I don't know how much reserve particularly the nursing profession has with regards to this. I fear from an economic standpoint, that lockdowns and similar measures would not a be a viable option, therefore approaching Flu season, there is much apprehension regarding Flu vs COVID  which is becoming a topic in the back of our minds. 

Staff Well-Being has definitely been bought forward in recent months, with offers of psychological help and Self Care ideas from larger and local businesses/ apps which has been fantastic. But these are not going to last forever, and if/ when COVID is over, I worry about the aftermath particularly those health and social care practitioners, who may have been in lockdown 2-3 times in certain areas of the UK.

I whole-heartedly agree with the 3 you have chosen, but I think there is more. I think having just 3 is a band aid on a gushing wound. I fear we may need a bandage. 

 

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Love Claire's 3 things!

For me,

1. Physical safety - staff should not be harmed by working in health and social care; whether PPE to prevent Covid 19/HAI, lifting and handling support so staff don't get injured , prevention of burnout through overwork/unsafe staffing levels; sufficient rest time so staff are properly eating and drinking on long shifts etc

2. Safety goals and teamwork - breaking down the professional silos and working in ways that have safety as a common core goal. Everyone can and should contribute to safety with staff supported with skills, training, knowledge and ways of working that promote safety 

3. Psychological safety. A just and learning culture must be psychologically safe for staff  to speak up for safety, to challenge unsafe care, to call out and address the blame culture and to work in an environment that supports their growth and self esteem. Leaders and organisations providing the space and support for staff to raise difficult issues and demonstrate that the listening leads to action and change (then sharing for wider implementation)

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For me the top 3 are:

1. An individual duty of candour enshrined in law. The current DoC holds institutions not individuals to account.

2. Prescribers held to account for failure to follow the RPS Prescribing Competency Framework. This is a competency framework for ALL prescribers.

3. More education on the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act, and holding to account those who do not follow it.

I've chosen these three areas because they are measurable and link directly to high profile failings including:

* The alleged cover up of the death of Robbie Powell ( a Police Report suggested 35 criminal charges & the case is with the CPS).

* The case of Oliver McGowan where prescribing a medicine he had previously reacted badly too contribuited to his death.

* The Gosport Hospital scandal where in June 2018, the Gosport independent panel reported that there was “a disregard for human life and a culture of shortening lives of a large number of patients” at the hospital.

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Edited by Steve Turner
On 07/09/2020 at 11:45, Steve Turner said:

For me the top 3 are:

1. An individual duty of candour enshrined in law. The current DoC holds institutions not individuals to account.

2. Prescribers held to account for failure to follow the RPS Prescribing Competency Framework. This is a competency framework for ALL prescribers.

3. More education on the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act, and holding to account those who do not follow it.

I've chosen these three areas because they are measurable and link directly to high profile failings including:

* The alleged cover up of the death of Robbie Powell ( a Police Report suggested 35 criminal charges & the case is with the CPS).

* The case of Oliver McGowan where prescribing a medicine he had previously reacted badly too contribuited to his death.

* The Gosport Hospital scandal where in June 2018, the Gosport independent panel reported that there was “a disregard for human life and a culture of shortening lives of a large number of patients” at the hospital.

I believe staff are unsafe if patients are unsafe. The two things go together.

The other thing is that when staff see bad practice going unchecked and are victimised for speaking out they leave if they can. Leading to a wide variation across orgnaisations.

This is behind many large scale failings in healthcare & part of a worldwide cultural and societal problem.

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