In this article, NHS England reports on progress in achieving the aims of the National patient safety strategy which was released in 2019: saving an additional 1,000 lives and £100 million per year. The article suggests that in 2023, the NHS is halfway to reaching this target and shares the following highlights:
- The National Patient Safety team, supported by staff across the NHS identifying and recording patient safety incidents, continues to save an estimated 160 lives per year through mitigation of risk. This is also estimated to reduce disability due to severe harm incidents by around 480 cases per year and to save £13.5 million in additional treatment costs.
- Since the strategy was launched, an estimated 291 fewer cases of cerebral palsy have occurred since September 2019 due to the administration of magnesium sulphate during pre-term labour as part of the PReCePT programme, supported by the Patient Safety Collaboratives. This has saved up to £291 million in lifetime care costs, assuming £1 million per case.
- Work supported by the Maternity and Neonatal Safety Improvement Programme to ensure optimal cord management during labour has saved up to 465 lives since 2020.
- We estimate 414 fewer deaths and 2,569 fewer cases of moderate harm due to long term opioids following the work of our Medication Safety Improvement Programme since November 2021. The Medication Safety Improvement programme has also led to: 420 fewer admissions for major bleeds per year from anticoagulants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), 1,979 fewer cases of drug induced acute kidney injury, 104 fewer asthma/COPD admissions due to sub-optimal inhaler prescribing, 1,000 fewer patients at risk of methotrexate overdose and 16,920 hospital readmissions avoided by Discharge Medicines Service. It is estimated this has released over £7 million in admissions costs.
- Early adopters of the Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF) are reporting improved safety cultures, identification of more effective risk reduction strategies and early signs of harm reduction, due to their revised approach.
- It is estimated that there are 36 fewer gas misconnection events every year, each one representing a potential death or severe harm event, due to a focus on reducing risks through the Never Events Framework and National Patient Safety Alerts (NPSAs).
- 11,621 care homes have been engaged on work to improve management of patient deterioration. This leads to reduced 999 calls, fewer emergency admissions and shorter lengths of stay.
- 38 mental health wards piloting work on restraint, seclusion and rapid tranquilisation have seen a 15% reduction in those practices.