Part II, The next five years

Let me start by describing an average episode of care in 2017. John is in his mid-50’s, a smoker (average 10 cigarettes a day), drinks regularly (around 2 pints of beer or 2 medium glasses of wine on his heaviest drinking day) and does not exercise frequently. He is overweight and has a family history of heart disease. John booked an appointment with his local GP because he had been having worsening chest pains over the previous five weeks. His GP referred him to the local rapid access chest pain clinic, where he had tests such as an ECG. The tests did not show any abnormalities and John was sent back to his GP with a note asking his doctors to continue monitoring him in case his symptoms worsened. His GP received the summary but did not schedule a follow-up appointment with John because the practice was short-staffed that day. (more…)

Part I, The last five years.

by Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham

Let me start with a personal story. I am a surgeon by training. Colleagues used to call me ‘robo-doc’ because of my interest in robotic keyhole surgery and because I helped to champion its use during a time when a surgeon’s reputation was measured by the size of his incisions. My journey into the academic study of patient safety happened naturally, aided by my interactions with patients and their carers. In fact, it was the quality of care that first drew me in.

I remember the first 24 hours after my very first keyhole surgery as if it was last week. I remember so vividly because never have I witnessed such drastic differences in patient outcomes as a result of a singular change in the way care was delivered. Almost immediately the patient was able to eat, walk without any assistance and, most importantly, with very little pain. We had dared to explore something different when the norm was not good enough. This was the start of my determination to do better. (more…)

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…)

Typical advice about how to critically think about and appraise papers/literature

by Nisha Shah

As a junior researcher in a well-known academic centre, I often have to review the literature to: familiarise myself with a topic area; search the literature to support the writing of a paper; and, critically evaluate previous literature for quality and find gaps in a research area.

The latter is often the most difficult: critiquing others’ work, especially if it’s a prominent academician from a big academic institution, can be daunting as I am still trying to develop my analytical abilities. So where do you begin to know where to start critically evaluating literature?

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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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Protocol for a Systematic Review of Patient Safety in Mental Health Published

by Beth Thibaut

Despite the growing international interest in patient safety as a discipline, there has been a lack of exploration of its application to mental health. It cannot be assumed that findings based upon physical health in acute care hospitals can be applied to mental health patients, disorders and settings.

A team of researchers within the Imperial College Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC) recently published a systematic review protocol (D’Lima, D., Archer, S., Thibaut, B. I., Ramtale, S. C., Dewa, L. H., & Darzi, A. (2016). A systematic review of patient safety in mental health: a protocol based on the inpatient setting. Systematic Reviews, 5(1), 203). (more…)

Fourth Annual NIHR Imperial PSTRC/CPSSQ Symposium 2016

by Jo Seed

A diverse range of patient safety experts, NHS health service providers and members of the public gathered for the NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (NIHR Imperial PSTRC)/Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality (CPSSQ) annual symposium on 28th September 2016.  The NIHR Imperial PSTRC, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), is a partnership between Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and comprises multidisciplinary teams of researchers working to improve patient safety in the NHS.

The symposium, now in its fourth year, aims to showcase examples of current research and to stimulate debate and discussion between researchers, healthcare professionals, members of the public and anyone with an interest in the safety and quality of healthcare. (more…)