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Found 45 results
  1. Content Article
    In our recent blog Analysing the Cumberlege Review; Who should join the dots for patient safety? we identified a number of key patient safety issues which were reflected in the Review’s findings. One theme running throughout the Review was a failure to engage patients in their care, most noticeably around the issue of informed consent. What is informed consent? The NHS definition of informed consent is that “the person must be given all of the information about what the treatment involves, including the benefits and risks, whether there are reasonable alternative treatments, and what will happen if treatment does not go ahead”.[1] The landmark UK Supreme Court judgement Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board case in 2015 reaffirmed this principle in law, setting out the legal duty of doctors to disclose information to patients regarding risks.[2] Review findings Patients being unable to make decisions on the basis of informed consent was a recurring theme in the review, manifesting itself in several ways: Patients’ consent not being sought - the Review heard from patients where consent was not given for the procedure carried out, particularly in cases for implanting pelvic mesh. The authors of the Review state that they were “appalled by the numbers of women who have come forward to say they never knew they had had mesh inserted, or where they gave consent for ‘tape’ insertion they did not know they were being implanted with polypropylene mesh”.[3] Patients lacking information – this was a consistent issue concerning patients regarding the three interventions considered by the Review: hormone pregnancy tests, sodium valproate and pelvic mesh implants. One specific example of this is the case of pregnant women taking sodium valproate as an epilepsy treatment without knowing that doing so could harm their unborn child. Despite efforts to make patients aware of this, it remains an issue, with women who are taking sodium valproate as a epilepsy treatment “still becoming pregnant without any knowledge of the risks”, lacking the information to make the decision about whether to continue with this medication.[4] Patients not being involved in decision making – the Review also heard from patients who raised concerns about the failure of informed consent as a result of doctors choosing not to share relevant information with patients for their decision-making. They refer to cases where doctors did not discuss the risks with women taking sodium valproate prior to pregnancies and “gave advice based on their own assumptions, without involving patients in the decision-making process”.[5] Concerns around the absence of informed consent go beyond the procedures focused on in the Review. On the hub, we have featured community discussions and patient accounts of these issues in relation to hysteroscopy procedures, while earlier in the year the Paterson Inquiry highlighted concerns about this, recommending that a short period should be introduced into surgical procedures to allow for patients to provide their consent.[6] How can we ensure informed consent is gained? The Cumberlege Review notes that, since the Montgomery ruling in 2015, there has been a significant increase in patient safety leaflets sharing information on risks of specific treatments, but that the sheer variety of these and differing consent forms can be “bewildering and a major source of confusion”.[7] The Review is supportive of an approach where information is conveyed in a clear and direct way, and where patient decision aids are used in complex conversations to support the consent process.[8] At Patient Safety Learning, we believe it is important that patients are not simply treated as passive participants in the process of their care. Informed consent is vital to respecting the rights of the patient, maintaining trust in the patient-clinician relationship and ensuring safe care. We have identified three calls for action which we believe are needed to tackle the failure of informed consent: All patient information should be co-produced with patients to ensure that it meets patient needs for decision-making. Repositories of information and good practice are put in place so that organisations don’t have to re-invent the wheel but instead can learn from experience. Patient information for medication and medical devices should be reviewed and signed off by the NHS to ensure that it is not solely the responsibility of manufacturers. What are your thoughts on this issue? Have you had an experience where you feel that you have not given informed consent before receiving medical care? Are you a healthcare professional who can share resources for good practice? Let us know in the comments below to ensure our calls for action are informed by your experience and insights. References NHS England, Consent to treatment, Last Accessed 16 July 2020. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/consent-to-treatment/ UK Supreme Court, Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board, 2015. https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2013-0136-judgment.pdf; Lee, Albert. “'Bolam' to 'Montgomery' is result of evolutionary change of medical practice towards 'patient-centred care'.” Postgraduate medical journal vol. 93,1095 (2017): 46-50. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5256237/#R3 The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, First Do No Harm, 8 July 2020. https://www.immdsreview.org.uk/downloads/IMMDSReview_Web.pdf Ibid. Ibid. Campaign Against Painful Hysteroscopy, Patients Stories Essay, September 2018. https://www.hysteroscopyaction.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/sept-2018.pdf; The Right Reverend Graham Jones, Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson, 2020. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/863211/issues -raised-by-paterson-independent-inquiry-report-web-accessible.pdf The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, First Do No Harm, 8 July 2020. https://www.immdsreview.org.uk/downloads/IMMDSReview_Web.pdf Ibid.
  2. Content Article
    These inspections have identified some good individual practice. But they have also found some common areas of concerns. These include: staff without the appropriate training, qualifications and competencies to carry out their role unsafe practice in the use of sedation and anaesthetics poor monitoring and management of patients whose condition might deteriorate a lack of attention to fundamental safety processes variable standards of governance and risk management failure to ensure consent is obtained in a two-stage process, with an appropriate cooling off period between initial consultation and surgery infection prevention and control standards not always being followed concerns about equipment maintenance.
  3. Content Article
    Content includes: Patient Safety: We’ve Come a Long Way National Patient Safety Consortium: Learning from Large-Scale CollaborationPatient Engagement in a Large-Scale Change Initiative: “As Safe as Possible, as Soon as Possible” Commentary: Three Ideas About “Post-Vention” Patient Safety Never Events: Cross-Canada Checkup Empowering Patients: 5 Questions to Ask About Your Medications Accelerating Post-Surgical Best Practices Using Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Patient Safety Culture Bundle for CEOs and Senior Leaders Commentary: We Must Look at Multiple Perspectives Homecare Safety Virtual Quality Improvement Collaboratives Commentary: Patient Safety in the Home Measuring and Monitoring Healthcare-Associated Infections: A Canadian Collaboration to Better Understand the Magnitude of the Problem Patient Safety: Patient Involvement Matters.
  4. News Article
    Far fewer people are having surgery or cancer treatment because COVID-19 has disrupted NHS services so dramatically, and those who do are facing the longest waits on record. NHS figures reveal huge falls in the number of patients who have been going into hospital for a range of vital care in England since the pandemic began in March, prompting fears that their health will have worsened because diseases and conditions went untreated. Patients have been unable to access a wide range of normal care since non-COVID-19 services were suspended in hospitals in March so the NHS could focus on treating the disease. Many patients were also afraid to go into hospital in case they became infected, which contributed to a fall in treatment volumes. Tim Gardner, a senior policy fellow at the Health Foundation thinktank, said: “The dramatic falls in people visiting A&E, urgent referrals for suspected cancer and routine hospital procedures during lockdown are all growing evidence that more people are going without the care they need for serious health conditions." “Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of cancer is crucial to saving lives, and delays in referrals and treatment during the pandemic are likely to mean more people are diagnosed later when their illness is further advanced and harder to treat.” Read full story Source: Guardian, 9 July 2020
  5. News Article
    Some hospitals have sought to water down PPE requirements in order to “accelerate” the return of planned surgery, senior doctors have said, as they issued new guidance aiming to inform the decision. The Royal College of Anaesthetists, along with partners including the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, released a document to members to tackle “marked uncertainty amongst operating theatre team members as to which infection prevention and control precautions should be taken when treating screened patients in planned surgical pathways”. The document provides recommendations for teams on how to adjust PPE usage, which the college said was “supportive and consistent” with current Public Health England guidance. Professor William Harrop-Griffiths, consultant anaesthetist and council member of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, told HSJ some hospitals wanted to decrease the amount of PPE used as it might enable them to “accelerate and increase the workload”. However, the college has argued that there is currently “no clear guidance on when you might consider making that change”. “You have to balance that to the risk to the staff,” Professor Harrop-Griffiths stressed. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 29 June 2020
  6. News Article
    Several acute trust chief executives have told HSJ they are keen to resume more planned operations, as the peak of new coronavirus cases has passed and many hospital beds remain empty. Some trust leaders said they believed routine elective surgery could be restarted as early as next week. There is also tension between NHS hospitals — some of which are keen to resume their own planned care, especially the more urgent operations — and a desire to use private hospitals, which have been booked out by NHS England. The government said yesterday the number of people in hospitals with COVID-19 has fallen by 10% over the last week. Around 42% of acute beds are now unoccupied, according to figures seen by HSJ. The peak of new infection cases in hospitals was at about 3,000 on 1 April — the number is now about half that figure. However, there will be fears nationally about the NHS seeking to return to normal and being caught out by ongoing COVID-19 pressures, or by a second peak of infections. Read full story Source: HSJ, 24 April 2020
  7. News Article
    NHS hospitals have been told to cancel operations in an effort to free up 30,000 beds to create space for an expected surge in coronavirus patients. In a letter to NHS bosses today, NHS England said hospitals should look to cancel all non-urgent surgeries for at least three months starting from 15 April. Hospitals were given discretion to begin winding down activity immediately to help train staff and begin work setting up makeshift intensive care wards. Any cancer operations and patients needing emergency treatment will not be affected. The letter from NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens said: “The operational aim is to expand critical care capacity to the maximum; free up 30,000 (or more) of the English NHS’s 100,000 general and acute beds." In the meantime hospitals were told to do as much elective surgery, such as hip operations and knee replacements, as possible and to use private sector hospitals which it said could free up 12 to 15,000 beds across England. Sir Simon also said patients who did not need to be in hospital should be discharged as quickly as possible adding: “Community health providers must take immediate full responsibility for urgent discharge of all eligible patients identified by acute providers on a discharge list. For those needing social care, emergency legislation before Parliament this week will ensure that eligibility assessments do not delay discharge. Read full story Source: The Independent, 17 March 2020
  8. Content Article
    This blog describes how Susannah forgave her surgeon for harming her, as she was able to see things from his point of view. It also highlights the importance of emotional intelligence in healthcare staff. You can follow Susannah on twitter @lliheus
  9. News Article
    Nurses will be trained to perform surgery under new NHS measures to cut waiting times. Nursing staff will be urged to undertake a two year course to become “surgical care practitioners” as part of the drive to slash waiting times but critics have warned it will worsen the nursing shortage. Nurses who qualify will be tasked with removing hernias, benign cysts and some skin cancers, according to the Daily Mail. They will also assist during major surgeries such as heart bypasses and hip and knee replacements. The re-trained nurses will be tasked with closing up incisions after operations. The proposals are contained within the NHS’s People Plan, due to be unveiled next month. Lib Dem health spokesman Munira Wilson said: "This is a sticking plaster solution to very serious staffing crisis across our NHS workforce.'" However the proposals were backed by Professor Michael Griffin, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He said: "We are totally supportive of this. We have very little anxiety about this.” Read full story Source: 24 February 2020
  10. News Article
    Dozens of women who thought they were having a "complete mesh removal" have discovered material has been left behind, the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme has been told. Some women have been left unable to walk, work or have sex after having the initial vaginal-mesh implants. Specialist surgeons say in some cases total or partial mesh removal can be beneficial. But some women said their symptoms had become worse. One was left suicidal. Vaginal-mesh implants remain available on the NHS in England but only when certain conditions are met. In Scotland, the use of mesh was halted in 2018. One paitent said her surgeon had promised her a "full mesh removal", but she has now been told more than 10cm (4in) could have been left behind. She had the mesh implanted several years ago to treat urinary incontinence and said she had woken after the surgery with "chronic pain in my legs, my groin and my hips". It is believed she suffered nerve damage. A year later – after being told by one expert a mesh removal would be unlikely to resolve her pain – she found a surgeon who told her the implant could be completely removed. She had two operations, each taking her half a year to recover from, and was told there had been a full removal. But "within a few months" the pain began to return and her health deteriorated and she found out that only 5–8cm had been removed. "My whole world turned upside down," she said, breaking into tears. She has since been told by a separate specialist her form of mesh was one of the most difficult to remove and could cause significant nerve damage if not removed properly. She said she had never been told this by her surgeon. The number of women affected is unknown but the Victoria Derbyshire programme understands there are at least dozens of such cases. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said in a statement that it took "each and every complication caused by mesh very seriously". It said: "Women must be informed of all options available and the benefits and risks of each so they can make the best decision about their care." Read full story Source: BBC News, 6 February 2020
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