Patient safety

The Trust takes patient safety very seriously and the Trust Board issued the following statement in June 2010:

Patient safety statement

The Board declares that its top priority is the delivery of high quality care to all patients, by ensuring that patient safety is at the heart of everything we do.

While it is still important to meet national targets and to remain in financial balance, this must not be achieved at the expense of the safety of our patients. We encourage staff to raise issues with their manager or Director if they feel that the safety of patients is being compromised.

It should be emphasised that when things do go wrong, this is generally due to problems with systems of working or through a series of accumulated small errors, rather than the fault of one individual. We ask all staff to report incidents so that we can investigate the circumstances, learn lessons and change practice, when relevant.

‘We provide safe, high quality care to many thousands of people every year, but sometimes, despite our best efforts, things can and do go wrong. If a patient is harmed as a result of a mistake or error in their care, we believe that they, their family or those who care for them should receive an apology, be kept fully informed as to what has happened, have their questions answered and know what is being done in response. This is something that we call being open.

By being open, learning from our mistakes and changing practice this contributes to the high quality of care we aspire to.

The Trust ensures the safety of patients in a number of ways which include:

  • Ensuring that staff have access to a wide variety of education and training
  • Having a register of key risks with associated action plans to monitor that those risks are reduced as far as possible
  • Encouraging staff to report incidents from which lessons are learned to prevent re-occurrence
  • Having policies and clinical guidelines in place so that all staff are aware of what is expected of them
  • Trust Directors undertaking Patient Safety Walkrounds to ensure that they are aware of staff views and any concerns on patient safety
  • Undertaking Global Trigger Tool Case Note Reviews, an internationally recognised system where organisations use a set of criteria which may have triggered or led to an adverse event for a patient. It highlights from a random set of notes issues which may need further investigation and lets the Trust benchmark ourselves against others
  • Having a systematic approach to staff auditing their practice to ensure they are achieving local and nationally recognised standards of care
  • Undertaking a variety of initiatives such as the NHS Safety Thermometer and Nursing Care Indicators

The work of the Trust has been recognised by a number of awards:

  • NHS Diabetes Care QiC (Quality in Care) award in 2011 – Best emergency or inpatient care initiative
  • Winner of the Critical and Intensive Care award at the National Patient Safety Awards 2010
  • Runner up in the Patient Safety Award at the West Midlands Health and Social Care Awards 2009

Overall, in terms of patient safety, the Trust is successfully implementing a variety of projects to both reduce incidents occurring and, when accidents do happen, investigating these thoroughly to ensure lessons are learned and systems changed to prevent any re-occurrence.