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Found 185 results
  1. Content Article
    The matrix describes the key elements of quality assurance along the y-axis, and graduations of ‘maturity’ along the x-axis. For each of the key elements, we have identified indicative statements so that organisations can self-assess their level of ‘maturity'. The rate of progress is incremental and the organisation cannot progress to the next level of maturity unless all criteria from the previous box have been fulfilled and, importantly, can be evidenced. The matrix should be used to illustrate the current performance and to inform and agree on future developmental expectations. For example, an organisation may identify that it is currently at ‘level 1’ in regard to ‘board reports and debate’, and aspires to reach ‘level 2’ within the next year. The tool can then be used to inform and track improvement over the defined development period. It is designed to foster discussion and constructive challenge at board level, before a consensus on the current self-assessment and future aspirations can be reached. Importantly, an organisation may not necessarily be at the same stage for each of the key elements identified.
  2. Content Article
    How to use these cards You scan use these cards in any way that helps you and your colleagues to think and talk about safety culture. If you are using the cards in a group, one person may need to act as discussion facilitator. You can use as many or as few cards as you like. Four possibilities are described in the following cards: Option 1: Comparing views Compare similar and different views between groups. Option 2: Safety moments Discuss just one issue for 10-15 minutes. Option 3: Focus on… Discuss all of the cards in a particular element. Option 4: SWOT analysis Sort the cards into strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Option 5: Influences Organise cards into relationships or influences.
  3. Content Article
    Key findings: The public is pessimistic about the state of the NHS and social care, with 57% of people believing the general standard of care provided by the NHS has got worse in the last 12 months. 69% think the standard of social care services has deteriorated. Expectations for the next 12 months are also low, with 43% thinking NHS standards will get worse and 53% thinking social care standards will get worse. Perceptions of NHS service locally and nationally are now very similar. Less than half of people think the NHS is providing a good service nationally (44%) or locally (42%). Th public's top priorities for the NHS include addressing the workload pressures on NHS staff, increasing the number of staff in the NHS and improving waits for routine services. Few people (9% in England) think the UK government has the right policies for the NHS. 58% of the public support the government’s decision to raise taxes to spend more on the NHS and social care, with only 22% opposing it.
  4. News Article
    The percentage of patients visiting A&E who are seen within four hours has hit a “terrifying” new low in Scotland, latest figures show, with ministers urged to “get a grip” on the growing crisis. The figure has been declining since the summer amid high demand, staffing shortages and a lack of patient flow through hospitals. In the week to 3 October, just 71.3% of patients were seen within four hours, a five percentage point drop on the previous week, according to a data published by Public Health Scotland. The figure is the lowest since records began in 2015, with the Scottish Government target set at 95%. With 25,000 visits to A&E in that week, it means more than 7,000 patients waited longer than four hours. Some 1,782 people waited more than eight hours, while a record 591 patients waited longer than 12 hours. Last week, Scotland’s Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, warned that Scotland’s NHS faces an “incredibly difficult winter” despite announcing a £300 million funding boost. But opposition parties have now accused him of “overseeing a scandalous situation” and leaving A&E departments “beyond breaking point”. Read full story Source: The Scotsman, 12 October 2021
  5. News Article
    U.S. News has just released its list of the best hospitals with associated rankings and ratings. Scores are based on several factors, including survival, patient safety, nurse staffing and more. U.S. News reviews hospitals performance in 15 adult specialties, 10 pediatric specialties and 17 surgical procedures and medical conditions affecting millions of people across the country. Find all of the rankings and ratings here
  6. News Article
    A trust which was heavily criticised for poor infection prevention and control last summer has been praised for making improvements. East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust was served with an enforcement notice by the Care Quality Commission in August last year, citing “serious concerns” about patient safety. The trust had twice the national rate of patients infected with COVID-19 after admission to hospital. But a new report, issued today, found significant improvements, with several areas of outstanding practice. The conditions imposed on the trust after last year’s inspection of the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford were also lifted, following the visit by the CQC in early March. Cath Campbell, CQC’s head of hospital inspections in the South East, said the improvements were particularly commendable as the trust had been under extreme pressure as a result of the pandemic. She said: “Leaders adopted learnings from other trusts, and from NHS Improvement which led to the development of a detailed infection prevention and control improvement plan. The trust then set up an improvement group to focus on implementing the actions in the plan and put a committee in place to review internal audit data and led improvements based on this information. “Although there were still one or two areas for improvement which we have advised the trust to look at now, overall this is a very positive report.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 23 April 2021
  7. News Article
    Regulators have sent an improvement director into a North West acute trust amid multiple allegations of poor care and ‘cover up’ across different specialties. University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust, which spent 18 months in special measures midway through the last decade, is again now the subject of significant regulatory intervention from NHS England. The regulator has appointed Simon Bennett as a board-level improvement director, which comes after he undertook a similar assignment at the struggling Stockport FT. It comes amid ongoing external investigations into the trust’s urology and trauma and orthopaedics specialties, where serious allegations have been made about attempts to cover up poor care. The trust has a troubled history of care failings and regulatory intervention, including a major maternity scandal which culminated in the Kirkup Inquiry in the first half of the 2010s, and being placed in special measures in 2014. It was widely recognised that positive progress was subsequently made to implement the inquiry recommendations and improve services, which culminated in the trust exiting special measures in late 2015, and being rated “good” by the CQC in early 2017. However, the recent allegations and investigations have again brought regulatory intervention. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 20 April 2021
  8. Content Article
    Key findings The top-performing countries overall are Norway, the Netherlands, and Australia. The United States ranks last overall, despite spending far more of its gross domestic product on healthcare. The U.S. ranks last on access to care, administrative efficiency, equity, and health care outcomes, but second on measures of care process. Four features distinguish top performing countries from the United States: they provide for universal coverage and remove cost barriers they invest in primary care systems to ensure that high-value services are equitably available in all communities to all people they reduce administrative burdens that divert time, efforts, and spending from health improvement efforts they invest in social services, especially for children and working-age adults.
  9. News Article
    With the annual NHS Staff Survey recently published, expectation was that this year might look a little different, all things considered. For the mental health sector, the dial didn’t move massively on key questions. The sector still came out bottom for staff who agreed they’d be happy with the standard of care if a friend or family member needed it - otherwise called the “family and friends test”. Although the survey was not that revelatory this year, it is still a helpful barometer for trusts’ safety and quality culture. Sheffield Health and Social Care Foundation Trust comes out lowest on all of the main quality and safety-related questions. On the crucial family and friends question, just 47% of the trust’s staff agreed that would be happy with the standard of care. The trust has been one of the worst performers on the survey for a number of years but appears to have deteriorated further. Sheffield Health and Social Care FT also came out worst on the following key safety culture related questions: When errors, near misses or incidents are reported, my organisation takes action to ensure that they do not happen again I would feel secure raising concerns about unsafe clinical practice My organisation acts on concerns raised by patients/service users. The last two questions are a vital indicator of a trust’s approach to safety and quality. If staff do not feel secure to raise concerns, or if a trust does not act on patient concerns can it really address problems before they escalate? Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 12 March 2021
  10. News Article
    Clinicians within a major teaching hospital’s cancer services have raised multiple concerns over patient safety, which they believe have resulted from badly planned service changes in response to the covid crisis. HSJ has spoken to several staff members who have worked in the haematology speciality at University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust since last June, when the services underwent significant changes to free up capacity for coronavirus patients. This involved most haematology services at Heartlands Hospital in east Birmingham moving to the trust’s main Queen Elizabeth Hospital site in Edgbaston. The staff, who all wished to remain anonymous, told HSJ the transfer happened at just one week’s notice and was poorly planned. Once implemented, they said QEH’s newly enlarged service suffered from extreme staffing shortages, leading to several “never events”, such as patients being given the wrong blood type. In one resignation letter, a nurse who had transferred to QEH told managers patients’ “basic care needs are not being met”. The nurse said most shifts were understaffed, with examples of three nurses looking after 30 patients and added in the resignation letter: “I am witnessing strong and knowledgeable colleagues breaking down on each shift. “Furthermore, never events are happening at an alarming rate, necessary resources are commonly unavailable and communication between all levels of seniority is poor…" Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 2 February 2021
  11. News Article
    Bosses at the controversial NHS gender-change clinic for children have been removed after regulators highlighted a string of failures. The management team of the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) in London has been 'disbanded', documents reveal. It comes weeks after the clinic, run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, was judged 'inadequate' by the Care Quality Commission. Watchdogs said staff were afraid to raise concerns about patient safety for fear of 'retribution' from bosses. A report said: 'Staff did not always manage risk well. Many of the young [patients] were vulnerable and at risk of self-harm." The management team of the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) in London has been 'disbanded', documents reveal. It comes weeks after the clinic, run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, was judged 'inadequate' by the Care Quality Commission. "The size of the waiting list meant staff were unable to proactively manage the risks to patients waiting for a first appointment." Read full story Source: MailOnline, 31 January 2021
  12. News Article
    An Essex maternity department has been served with further warnings by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and again rated “inadequate”. Serious concerns were raised about the services at Basildon University Hospital in the summer, after several babies were found to have been starved of oxygen and put at risk of permanent brain damage. Despite the CQC issuing warning notices to Mid and South Essex Foundation Trust in June 2020, a subsequent visit on 18 September found multiple problems had persisted. The CQC’s findings at Basildon included: the service was short-staffed and concerns were not escalated appropriately multidisciplinary team working was “dysfunctional”, which sometimes led to safety incidents doctors, midwives and other professionals did not support each other to provide good care. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 19 November 2020
  13. Content Article
    After watching the video, participants should be better prepared to: Acquire an understanding of the concept of a "medical error". Appreciate the safety movement. Understand the culture of safety. Illustrate real examples of adverse events and their sequelae. Identify a high reliability organisation.
  14. Content Article
    In January the CQC published a formal consultation on its new strategy from 2021.[1] The future aims and ambitions of England’s health and social care regulator clearly have important implications for improving patient safety. It not only plays a key role in assessing and holding organisations to account on safety issues, but also has the influence and reach to promote and spread patient safety improvements and good practice more broadly at a system level. Here we will briefly overview the aims and ambitions of the CQC’s new strategy, before then reflecting on the key points we included in our consultation response around the following issues: Patient engagement. Transparent patient safety data and insight. Tackling the blame culture. Driving improvement and sharing learning. Human rights. Standards for patient safety. “The world of health and social care is changing. So are we.” The CQC is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. They describe their purpose as: “We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.”[2] The key ambition in their new strategy reflects this purpose, with their aim being “to improve people’s care by looking at how well health and care systems are working and how they’re acting to reduce inequalities”.[1] The strategy is built around four themes which group together the changes they believe will help to achieve this: 1. People and communities – regulation to be driven by people’s experiences and what they expect and need from health and care services. 2. Smarter regulation – flexible and dynamic assessment processes, targeted and driven by data. 3. Safety through learning – focus on strong safety cultures and the importance of learning and improvement. 4. Accelerating improvement – commitment to making improvement happen and targeting the priority areas that require the most support. In the following sections of this blog, we will reflect on some of the key issues included in our consultation response on this strategy, identifying the opportunities this presents to help improve patient safety. Patient engagement We welcome the new strategy identifying the importance of people’s experiences of health and care services as an having an integral role in the CQC’s work. Patient Safety Learning believes that engaging with patients is key to improving patient safety. Too often, safety concerns raised by patients and family members are not acted on and, when harm occurs, they are left out of the investigation process. We were pleased to see the strategy commit to: Simplifying the CQC’s feedback processes for the public. Providing clear feedback on how people’s experiences have been used and indicating where these have resulted in action. Assessing health and care providers on how they enable and act on feedback. As part of our consultation response we also underlined the need of CQC’s assessment of health and care providers on patient feedback to be joined up with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) work forming a new Complaint Standards Framework for the NHS.[3] As we noted in our response to the PHSO’s consultation on the latter, it is vital the two organisations work in this area is aligned and mutually reinforcing. In addition to individual engagement with patients, in our response we urged the CQC to give further thought to how they engage with patient groups and campaigners. Last year’s major patient safety report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review (also known as the Cumberlege Review) clearly demonstrated the vital role that patient groups can play in highlighting systemic safety failings.[4] At Patient Safety Learning we are currently working closely with patient groups to highlight patient safety concerns impacting people living with Long Covid and women who have experienced painful hysteroscopy procedures in the NHS. We believe there is a significant opportunity for insights from such groups to help inform the CQC’s approach to regulation and inspection. Transparent patient safety data and insight Another key theme of the new strategy is smart regulation, emphasising the use of data to target CQC resources where they can have the greatest impact. In our response we noted that if these ambitions are to be realised, there needs to be a significant improvement the available metrics and data, particularly in relation to patient safety. In our report A Blueprint for Action we identify data and insight as one of the six foundations of safe care.[5] We set out the importance that health and care providers to have agreed metrics and data to manage and measure their patient safety performance. We believe that this should be integrated from different sources of patient safety intelligence and learning, subsequently utilised to identify possible patient safety risks, and inform decision making throughout the organisation. Access to more rigorous, effective, and transparent reporting is key to the CQC becoming a smarter regulator on patient safety issues. Tackling the blame culture We were pleased to see “Safety through learning” as one of the four core themes of the new CQC strategy. An organisational culture that seeks to assign blame when things go wrong makes patient harm more likely to happen again. Blame culture incentivises people to cover up mistakes, rather than reporting them, and often singles out individuals rather than tackling the systemic causes of errors. Sadly, we know blame cultures continue to persist in the NHS. Evidence of this can be seen the results of the most recent NHS Staff Survey, with an alarmingly high number of respondents (39.1%) indicating they did not feel staff involved in an error, near miss or incident would be treated fairly.[6] We also see signs of this reflected through conversations with staff via the hub, with a reluctance to share examples of good practice as well as concerns about unsafe care. Staff express their commitment to share insights, stories, data but also their fear that they will be ‘found out’ and do not have permission even to share good practice. Therefore, we welcome the strategy’s focus on this in our response, particularly commitments to: Its assessments checking for open and honest cultures. Sharing learning from good safety cultures. Ensuring services are investing in improving safety training and support. Driving improvement and sharing learning As part of its “Accelerating improvement” theme, the strategy emphasises the importance of sharing new innovations and establishing “national sector-wider improvement coalitions”. We welcome this commitment to sharing learning and examples of good practice. Patient Safety Learning believe that shared learning is key to improving patient safety, identifying this as one of our six foundations of safe care in A Blueprint for Action.[5] We bring together resources and learning both from health and social care stakeholders, staff and patients through the hub, our platform for patient safety. In our consultation response we said we would welcome the opportunity to share our experience and collaborate with the CQC and other organisations in sharing learning to improve patient safety. We would also be happy to share improvement insights and examples of good practice on the hub. Human rights The CQC’s new strategy emphasises that reducing inequalities in health and care and advancing human rights should be a key thread running throughout all its work. At Patient Safety Learning we have recently been undertaking work looking at the interrelationship between patient safety and human rights, considering how the right to health can also be considered as a right to safe care. We believe that this is likely to become an issue of increasing importance and have said that we would be happy to feedback to the CQC our future insights on this issue. We will be publishing our work in this area shortly. Standards for patient safety To “improve people’s care by looking at how well health and care systems are working” we believe it is essential that health and care providers and the CQC can effectively assess patient safety performance. Currently this is difficult as everyday approaches to patient safety are inconsistent – there is no clear definition of what is ‘good’ looks like, there are no standards for patient safety. In our consultation response we set out that we are in the process of developing organisational standards for patient safety, using the evidence-based foundations in A Blueprint for Action. We believe that the introduction of patient safety standards will enable health and social care organisations to apply evidence-based criteria for evaluating, managing, and improving patient safety performance. They will be able to assist both providers and regulators in self-assessing patient safety performance on issues such as safety culture. With an external and independent accreditation framework, we think that Patient Safety Learning’s organisational standards for patient safety will enable patients, staff, leaders, and regulators to have greater confidence that patient safety will be a core purpose in the health and social care system. Setting standards with external accreditation, we believe, will be a significant contribution to raising performance on patient safety and reducing avoidable harm. We are sharing and discussing our work with the CQC. We welcome CQC’s commitment to encouraging organisations to take ownership to setting and delivering patient safety standards, not just relying on CQC and other regulators to provide insights on performance. References 1. CQC. The world of health and social care is changing. So are we. 7 January 2021. 2. CQC. Who we are. Last Accessed 10 March 2021. 3. Patient Safety Learning, NHS complaints system is not working – this might fix it, says Ombudsman, Patient Satey Learning's the hub, 22 September 2020. 4. The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, First Do No Harm, 8 July 2020. 5. Patient Safety Learning, The Patient-Safe Future: A Blueprint for Action, 2019. 6. NHS Staff Survey, NHS Staff Survey 2020: National results briefing, March 2021.
  15. News Article
    A quiet revolution in the NHS has happened. After decades of an internal market, NHS England has outlined new changes tying financial allocations and incentives to system-level performance instead. Over the past six months, providers had been allocated block funding based on activity from 2019/20 with top-ups and retrospective funding to support covid pressures, ensuring they financially break even during the crisis. Now, in a letter accompanying funding envelopes for Integrated Care Systems and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships around the country, NHSE outlined how health service finances will be system managed for the remainder of the year. Systems will have not only control of the kitty (with all system costs to be met from its allocation) but funding will be linked to the performance of their member organisations, with some incentive payments or penalties for over/under performance at a system level. Glen Burley, the chief executive of a group of three acute trusts in the West Midlands, branded the move “very risky” and suggested a more traditional tariff performance would drive performance. Highlighting another of his concerns he said: “We have very little experience of doing so at system level, so this is a very risky tactic in a very risky year.” How systems will manage the shortfalls will hinge on elective delivery, system co-ordination, how to reduce forecast costs and recover income, set, of course, against the threat of a second wave of COVID-19. Read full story Source: HSJ, 17 September 2020
  16. News Article
    Yesterday marked the second World Patient Safety Day, and this year’s theme shined a light on health worker safety – those on the frontline of the pandemic have been selfless in their sacrifices to care for an ailing global population. What has become ever clearer is that a health system is nothing without those who work within it and that we must prioritise the safety and wellbeing of health workers, because without safe health workers we cannot have safe patients. Improving maternity safety has been a priority for some time – although rare, when things go wrong the consequences are unthinkable for families and the professionals caring for them. Maternity negligence makes up 50% of the total value of negligence claims across all NHS sectors, according to the latest NHS Resolution annual report and accounts. It states there were claims of around £2.4 billion in 2019/20, which is in the region of £6.5 million a day. This cost says nothing of the suffering families and professionals associated. However, without investing in the maternity frontline we cannot hope to make integral systemic changes to improve maternity safety and save mothers’ and babies’ lives, writes Sara Ledger, head of research and development at Baby Lifeline in the Independent. "We owe it to every mother and baby to rigorously and transparently scrutinise the safety of maternity services, which will be in no small way linked to the support staff receive." Read full story Source: The Independent, 17 September 2020