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Found 40 results
  1. Content Article
    Key points Reducing elective waiting times from ‘18 months to 18 weeks’ was one of the English NHS' major achievements in the 2000s. In January 2020, before coronavirus (COVID-19) began to impact on the UK, more than one in six patients were waiting more than 18 weeks for routine treatment. To free up NHS capacity, non-urgent planned care was postponed for 3 months from 15 April 2020. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, to meet the 18-week standard for newly referred patients and clear the backlog of patients who will have already waited longer than 18 weeks, the NHS would have needed to treat an additional 500,000 patients a year for the next 4 years. The pandemic is likely to make waiting lists grow further and the challenge will be even greater. At the end of April, the NHS in England was asked to begin a cautious programme to resume some of the routine services suspended in response to COVID-19. Returning the NHS to ‘normal’ is hugely important but poses significant challenges. For example, treating patients with enhanced infection control arrangements will reduce the volume of patients that can be treated relative to normal. For planned hospital care, this challenge has to be seen against a backdrop of growing waiting lists and waiting times. In January 2020, before large numbers of COVID-19 hospitalisations, a total of 4.4 million patients were on the waiting list – around 730,000 of whom had waited more than 18 weeks. The rates of spending growth, set out in the NHS Funding Bill in February 2020, will not be sufficient to cover the cost of meeting the 18-week standard by March 2024, even before any additional costs and demand arising from COVID-19. The Health Foundation estimates that spending growth would need to increase by a further £560m a year – assuming the NHS can prioritise patients to make the most effective use of available capacity. Without a radical intervention to increase capacity, it is unrealistic to expect the 18-week standard can be achieved by 2024 with current infrastructure and staffing levels. Meeting the 18-week standard would require hospitals to increase the number of patients they admit by an amount equivalent to 12% of all the patients admitted for planned care in 2017/18. This would be an unprecedented increase in activity. COVID-19 makes the challenge even greater. Over the coming years there will need to be long-term changes to how routine care is delivered, considerable effort at the front line and potentially an important role for the independent sector if the NHS is to return to a position of meeting the 18-week standard. But even with huge efforts, the reality is that longer waiting times for planned care are likely to be a feature of the NHS in England for several years at least.
  2. Content Article
    As the health and social care system focuses its attention on tackling Covid-19, the need to pay attention to patient safety is now more important than ever. In addition to creating new patient and staff safety challenges, the pandemic is magnifying existing issues, increasing the underlying causes of known patient safety problems, and detracting attention from safety initiatives that, to date, may have had traction and success. It is vital that we understand the impact Covid-19 is having on patient safety and identify and address the system issues that are causing avoidable harm. Patient Safety Learning’s response to the Inquiry is structured as follows: The pandemic’s impact on non Covid-19 care and patient safety Considering key themes and issues emerging in non Covid-19 care and treatment including: public avoiding NHS for non Covid-19 treatment delays in treatment lack of chronic disease management lack of support for specific health conditions whether we are learning from patient safety incidents during this period. Balancing Covid-19 and ‘ordinary’ health care This section outlines of insights Patient Safety Learning has gathered, focusing on the patient safety concerns around home births, social care, and rapid hospital discharge. Transitioning to the ‘new normal’ and a ‘safe restart’ Considering the long-term patient safety challenges presented by the impact of the pandemic on non Covid-19 care and treatment, such as: tackling the new backlog in elective care safe staffing and the importance of workforce planning in returning to normal levels of care. ensuring staff welfare. It also looks at the opportunities to improve health and social care as services normalise including: increasing accessibility to services sharing knowledge and innovations a renewed focus on staff safety developing safe systems. Concluding comments In the concluding comments Patient Safety Learning call for the Health and Social Care Select Committee to recommend to the Government that the redesign of health and social care has patient and staff safety at its core with: Patient safety at the heart of improved care delivery models with explicit safety strategies and goals for leadership, shared learning, and culture Innovation for safer care shared and implemented widely. Transitioning to new ways of working and a ‘safe restart’ to be designed with patient and staff safety at its core and publicly reported. Patient engagement and communication to be prioritised, providing information and assurance to patients and families as to the safety of their care and how their concerns can be addressed. Reference [1] UK Parliament, Delivering Core NHS and Care Services during the Pandemic and Beyond, Last Accessed 7 May 2020. https://committees.parliament.uk/work/277/delivering-core-nhs-and-care-services-during-the-pandemic-and-beyond/
  3. Content Article
    This guidance includes; What are RRTs and CCO services? What is COVID-19? Why is COVID-19 important to the RRT and CCO service? Overarching principles Safety of the RRT responders Identification of suspected / confirmed cases Use of NIV, CPAP and high flow nasal oxygen Method of activation of the RRT Coordinating a response to a patient with suspected / confirmed COVID-19 Use of non-ICU staff as members of the responding team Training of staff.
  4. Content Article
    The Health and Social Care Select Committee is currently holding an inquiry to consider the preparedness of the UK to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. MPs will focus their discussion on measures to safeguard public health, options for containing the virus and how well prepared the NHS is to deal with a major outbreak. At Patient Safety Learning we are gathering #safetystories from both staff and patients to highlight the challenges for safety in healthcare that are resulting from the pandemic. Ahead of the Committee’s next oral evidence session we have raised several urgent safety issues with the Chair, Jeremy Hunt MP. The Committee should seek answers and actions from NHS leaders and politicians on the issues identified to ensure the safety of staff and patients. Below is a summary of our submission to the Committee, a full copy of which can be found here. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff There has been an increasing number of concerns raised by staff through the media over the past week around problems accessing appropriate PPE. While at a senior level there has been assurances about the availability of appropriate PPE for NHS staff, we are concerned that this is not being borne out by their experiences on the front-line, undermining trust and confidence that staff safety is being treated as a priority. In our submission we’ve cited several issues raised by healthcare workers in this regard, such as discrepancies in the amount of PPE available to staff in some roles (e.g. ambulances) as opposed to others (e.g. emergency departments). There have also been concerns about the guidance provided on what PPE is required. We’ve been advised of incidents where this has been downgraded to reflect the availability of supplies; this is clearly highly risky and does not reflect a science-based response to the pandemic. We’re asking the Committee to bring the following questions to the meeting, and to seek answers and action from NHS leaders and politicians: What is being done to ensure all ‘at risk’ staff have access to PPE, not only in the Intensive Treatment Units (ITUs) but Emergency Departments, Wards, Ambulances, in the community, everywhere? Who is in charge in every organisation to ensure that PPE is available and in use, according to robust guidelines? How do staff report concerns and to whom? What assurances are there that the safety of staff is paramount and that the cost of PPE is not preventing staff from having access to life-saving protection? How is the NHS supply chain communicating with trusts over likely lead times for PPE and availability of supplies? Is there transparency in this so that trusts can plan effectively how to use the stocks they have left? Testing There has been a number of reports about how the UK’s approach to testing differs from World Health Organization guidance and we’ve had concerns raised directly with us by staff who are genuinely fearful that they are infected and spreading the virus to their friends, family and the general public without knowing. We’re asking the Committee to bring the following questions to the meeting, and to seek answers and action from NHS leaders and politicians: What is the policy for testing and tracing patients for Covid-19 in the UK? What are the requirements for test production and testing capacity in this country? What are the plans and timescales to deliver this? We think that the scale of testing is compromising our ability to track the spread of the virus and isolate those that are infected. Non Covid-19 care Understandably the healthcare system is focusing its attention on the deadly effects of the coronavirus and we believe that we need to pay attention to patient safety now more important than ever. We are hearing stories of patients whose planned tests, elective operations, diagnostic procedures are being postponed or delayed while the health care system focuses on responding to the pandemic. It is important to assess the impact the coronavirus will have on other areas of care and ensure it does not magnify or exacerbate existing patient safety issues. We’re asking patients to share their safety stories with us to highlight weaknesses or safety issues that need to be addressed and share solutions that are working, so we can seek to close the close the gaps that might emerge as a result of the pandemic. We’re asking the Committee to bring the following questions to the meeting, and to seek answers and action from NHS leaders and politicians: What arrangements are being put in place to inform patients and families of any changes in non Covid-19 care during the pandemic? How are UK patients and families being informed about any such changes in their care? What should patients do if they notice new signs and symptoms? References [1] UK Parliament, Health and Social Care Committee: Preparations for Coronavirus, Last Accessed 25 March 2020. [2] HSJ, Staff in ‘near revolt’ over protective gear crisis, Last Accessed 25 March 2020.
  5. Content Article
    Recently Dr Peter Brennan tweeted a video of a plane landing at Heathrow airport during Storm Dennis. I looked at this with emotion, and with hundreds of in-flight safety information, human factors, communication and interpersonal skills running through my head. I thought of the pilot and his crew, the cabin crew attendants and the passengers, and how scared and worried they would have felt. On a flight, the attendants will take us through the safety procedures before take off. We are all guilty, I am sure, of partly listening because it is routine and we have heard it all before. Then suddenly we are in the midst of a violent storm and we need to utilise that information! We ardently listen to the attendants instructions and pray for the captain to land the plane safely, which he does with great skill! I now want to link this scenario to the care of our patients in the operating theatre. They are also on a journey to a destination of a safe recovery and they depend on the consultants and the team to get them there safely. Despite being routine, we need to do all the safety checks for each patient and follow the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist as it is written: ask all the questions, involve all members of the surgical team, even do the fire risk assessment score if it is implemented in your theatre. The pilot of that flight during Storm Dennis certainly did not think he was on a routine flight. He had a huge responsibility for the lives of his crew and many passengers! We can only operate on one patient at a time. Always remember, even though the operation may be routine for us, it may be the first time for the patient – so let's make it a safe journey for each patient. Do it right all the time!
  6. Content Article
    The guidance explores: how shift work can impact on health, safety and wellbeing what can employers and employees do the importance of partnership working on shift working patterns.
  7. Content Article
    This guideline written by Mid and South Essex Hospitals is designed to help maternity staff to identify, counsel and put the women who need antenatal and postpartum thromboprophylaxis on the correct pathway of care.
  8. Content Article
    Small differences can lead to big changes which can escalate if carried out by many people on numerous occasions. Big changes in how autistic people with a learning disability access and experience healthcare can and should be informed by stakeholders, including the patient and their family. Blair et al identified the following simple steps: Take time to be with the person and their families to understand their lived experiences. Pick up not only on what is said, but also what is not said, and avoid hurrying the interaction. It is essential to remember that every interaction counts and each contact matters. Health professionals only spend a fraction of time with a person, so it is vital to gain as much insight as possible from the person and those who know them best, and to consider all that is being relayed, verbally and non-verbally. In doing so, healthcare practitioners can refocus how they interpret what they see and develop their understanding that what is seen superficially is not all that there is.
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