One year ago, on 2 October 2019, we officially launched the hub at our annual conference. To celebrate this special occasion, we want to update you on how the hub has grown and the impact it’s having, both on the people using it directly and on patient safety more broadly.
To date, the hub has over 1,000 members from 450 organisations and from over 40 countries. It’s home to over 3,000 pieces of content, has had 45,000 unique visitors and has been accessed 70,000 times.
Although we are delighted with these numbers and continued growth of the hub, we are most proud of the relationships the hub is facilitating and the good work that is happening as a result. We launched the hub so that all members of the public – from patients to clinicians – could share their insight and experiences of patient safety. By working together with users of the hub, we aim to highlight patient safety concerns and take action so that real change can happen as we journey towards the patient-safe future.
Wonderfully, we are beginning to achieve these aims. Here are some of the ways the hub has been making an impact.
Impact of the hub on patient safety
Sharing successes to improve patient safety
We are delighted to see on the hub that trusts are sharing new initiatives and good practices they have successfully implemented. Homerton University Hospital NHS Trust has shared innovative solutions that improve patient safety, and these have been picked up by other patient safety leads who want to try them in their own organisations. A blog series about a ‘second victim’ support initiative at Chase Farm Hospital has led to another hospital initiating a conversation with Chase Farm so they could create something similar.
We’ve had great feedback about how the hub is helping members:
Kirsty Wood, Senior Critical Care Outreach Practitioner, says: “The hub is an essential platform that allows collaboration and communication across the country. The diversity of the experiences and ideas that are shared enables others to improve current practices and keep up-to date. Through networking, we are able to learn from each other, provide invaluable support and energy to strive for patient safety.”
Gethin Bateman of the NHS Wales Informatics Service says that the hub has supported his development and learning and has also helped him to achieve targets at work: “If it didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have that valuable repository of information. I could go online and Google for policy documents, etc. But you don’t get the conversation around them, which may be more important than the actual document.”
Dr Rachel Grimaldi, Creator of CARDMEDIC, comments: “The hub is such a useful, creative resource and really the only place to go now, I think, to share patient safety initiative stories so people can learn from each other.”
Campaigning for safer care
Using member feedback and evidence, the hub is helping us to highlight patient safety issues and promote safer care.
In February, we connected with the Campaign Against Painful Hysteroscopy patient group and began a new Community discussion on the hub titled ‘Painful hysteroscopy’. We have seen a significant amount of interest in this issue, with many patients sharing their experiences.
Another issue we’ve been highlighting on the hub is the lack of support for thousands of patients with ‘Long COVID’ (patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 who continue to struggle with prolonged, debilitating and sometimes severe symptoms months later). We are using the hub as a forum for people living with Long COVID to share their stories and experiences, such as intensive care doctor Jake Suett, who wrote a blog about his own experience of suspected Long COVID. In his blog, Jake sets out a number of recommendations to improve support for people living with Long COVID and includes a template others can use to call on their MPs to raise awareness. His blog has been the hub’s most visited page yet, with over 8,000 views.
Highlighting frontline staff concerns
One of the most popular types of content on the hub has been the candid stories from frontline staff, often posted anonymously. One example is a theatre nurse’s story of speaking up when a surgeon dropped an instrument, washed it and immediately re-used it. We highlighted this specific incident of unsafe care – along with the wider safety concerns it raises around private practice – with the CQC, NHS England and NHS Improvement, NMC, GMC and National Guardian for the NHS, calling for action be taken. The nurse was willing to be identified to the CQC and work with them to initiate an investigation. Hopefully, this will help to prevent this type of situation from occurring again.
The challenges we face
Encouraging people to be confident enough to create original material themselves is challenging. Time is a factor; frontline staff are very busy. They can also be afraid of the repercussions if they share examples of unsafe practice, even when done anonymously.
“Hello, I read your tweets and often would love to comment but don’t feel safe to do so. I was a senior nurse for patient safety but left. Organisational reputation in my experience trumps learning, openness and honesty in managing complaints and patient safety incidents…Carry on the good work.” (Anonymous)
Others, particularly patients, are often worried that their experience or voice is not deserving of wider dissemination.
Even when members are keen to share good practice and their trust’s new initiatives, they are often uncertain as to whether they are allowed to share; organisations’ cultural barriers can be hard to overcome.
Our plans for the hub
Over the year ahead, we are looking to collaborate further with other organisations and grow our networks, in both the UK and internationally, so we can share patient safety ideas and initiatives globally. We will expand internationally through links with the Patient Safety Movement Foundation, collaboration with WHO and new knowledge-sharing networks in Africa.
Following feedback from user workshops with members, we will continue to develop the hub to meet the needs of our users and actively encourage new members to make the best use of the hub.
We will continue to raise awareness of patient safety issues. This month, we are launching our error traps gallery. An error trap is a situation that could lead to avoidable harm unless action is taken to address this issue, and they can be found throughout health and social care. We want to raise awareness of these on the hub and will be asking you to send us your photos of error traps and any ideas you have to address them.
We will also be continuing our harmed care patient pathway blog series with Joanne Hughes, one of the hub’s topic leads, to develop our understanding of the needs of patients, families and staff when things go wrong, and look at how these needs may be best met and by whom.
Work with us towards the patient-safe future
Every voice is important. If you’re a patient, clinician, researcher, student, patient safety professional… whoever you are, you’ll have an experience of patient safety. If you’ve got something to share, whether a patient or staff experience or a successful patient safety or staff safety initiative, please do share it with the hub community.
We would love for your voice to be a part of our growing network, as we speak up, take action and work together towards the patient-safe future.