Category: Awareness Day

May the force be with you: The role of the workforce in patient safety

By Professor Anne Marie Rafferty

Let’s face it ‘workforce’ is not the sexiest of subjects. The combination of work + force suggests something hard and difficult is upon us. Yet everything in healthcare depends upon it. Patient safety can all too easily be captured by the technical and sexy subjects of Artificial Intelligence: wearables, promising techy short cuts to wicked, intractable solutions. We invest hope and hype in these and other techy totems. But the unalloyed truth is that safety is hard work principally because it is enabled by human interaction and practices, practices which are embodied, literally in the human frame and behaviours. Here at the Centre, we are keen to drop some depth charges into the murky waters of the workforce and its relationship with patient safety. Fortunately, we are not starting with a blank slate. (more…)

What I learned working in mental health

by Christian Ramtale

“When our bodies are sick and people extend their sympathy, bring us soup, offer up solutions. When our minds are sick, people tend to shy away from you, be afraid, or call you outright crazy.” – Anna Akana.

One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

Due to increased awareness of the role mental health plays in our lives, there is a greater acceptance that mental health is of equal importance to physical health. This has enabled patient safety as a discipline to examine previously unexplored areas in mental health.

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Forgotten Scientists

by Lindsay H. Dewa

“Certain people – men, of course – discouraged me, saying [science] was not a good career for women. That pushed me even more to persevere […] I was from the generation of 1968. It was a period of activism and women were demanding their rights.”
 Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Virologist,
Nobel Prize Winner for Physiology or Medicine 2008

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi is an inspiration to all women in science, determined to succeed despite discouragement and achieved the greatest honour in Science: a Nobel Prize. But, unfortunately, her bad experience in her earlier days as a scientist is still common amongst women today.

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Diagnosing Cancer

by Olga Kostopoulou

Cancer causes death to millions of people worldwide. Early detection of cancer in primary care can enhance patients’ chances of survival. However, detecting cancer early is no simple task. The symptoms can be vague and non-specific, and can be easily attributed to pre-existing or other, more common conditions. Attributing symptoms of bowel or ovarian cancer, such as abdominal distention and pain, to Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a frequent example. With funding from Cancer Research UK, we have been researching early cancer diagnosis for the last 5 years. When I started work in this area, I had assumed that cancer is always at the back of a GP’s mind. I found out that this was not necessarily the case. (more…)