16 July 2015

NurChat social media community hosts patient safety chat

Substandard care is neither something any patient wants to experience nor any healthcare professional deliver. Nevertheless, poor standards of care have been exposed in two high profile cases where patient outcomes could have been so different had the correct care been given at the appropriate time.

Dr Robert Francis QC and Dr Bill Kirkup CBE concluded in their respective reports that patient safety was not the priority it should have been in those cases and that ‘appalling care’ was received by some patients. In the case of Furness General Hospital, ‘avoidable harm to mothers and babies, including tragic and unnecessary deaths’ occurred.

Human, systemic or a combination of both factors have been attributed as causes, but as with any error the key question is how to ensure poor quality care is not allowed to occur in the future.

Lasting change is necessary to overcome deficiencies in the system that allowed poor care to become acceptable, and an additional £8bn of funding has been promised to the NHS by the Chancellor in his budget earlier this month. However, a further £22bn in efficiency savings also need to be achieved by 2020. Some have stated that this could create a funding gap, which will ultimately impact upon frontline services and therefore patient care.

The wellbeing and safety of patients is absolutely paramount and in this #NurChat the discussion will look at patient safety from clinical skills to safety processes. The recommendations made in the Kirkup report have potential for application across the healthcare sector, so in this constructive debate we’ll be looking at the following points:

  • Are enough procedures in place to monitor a deteriorating patient? Would you feel confident to escalate the situation to more senior staff if needed?
  • Does true MDT cooperation exist in your workplace? Could teams be more integrated?
  • How would the 7-day NHS service plan impact on patient safety?
  • Do systems and processes stifle or support clinicians in achieving safe patient care?
  • Do you have the opportunity for secondment or cross-department learning? Have training opportunities reduced or increased recently?