Patient safety experts gathered for the Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality (CPSSQ) annual symposium last week. The symposium was organised by the National Institute for Health Research Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (NIHR Imperial PSTRC) on behalf of the CPSSQ.
The symposium, which is now in its second year, aims to provide an opportunity to showcase examples of current PSTRC and CPSSQ 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.
The event heard from a wide array of speakers from Imperial, including Paul Aylin, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and co-director of the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial, who spoke about the higher odds of death if admitted to hospital at the weekend. Matthew Harrison from the Institute of Global Health Innovation’s (IGHI) HELIX Centre talked about design and patient safety and why it was important whilst Dr Maria Ahmed-Drake, an Honorary Clinical Research Fellow at Imperial PSTRC, explained why the engagement of trainees in safety improvement was a key aspect in enhancing patient safety.
Dr Josephine Ocloo, Project lead for Imperial College Health Partners and the Patient Safety Champion Network gave a touching, personal account of her experience of patient safety within the NHS following the death of her 17 year old daughter in 1996. Driven by her personal tragedy, Dr Ocloo campaigns to give a voice to those who feel they have been wronged by the medical profession and to make healthcare in Britain safer.
The event also debated on whether technology is the way forward for patient safety. The outcome was an even split on those for and against.
The keynote lecture was given by Professor Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission since July 2013. Sir Mike has been asked to lead a new programme of inspection across acute hospitals, mental health services, community services and ambulance service both in the NHS and the private sector and his talk gave an opportunity to update the meeting on the progress of this important review to date. Sir Mike explained that for each inspection, the Care Quality Commission needs to address 5 key questions for each review on every aspect of patient safety – is it safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led?
“We’ve come a long way in the past 14 months and our new approach has proved to be more robust and credible that what we have done in the past” said Sir Mike. “However, there is still room for improvement. Consistency across NHS Trusts still remains a huge challenge and we need to overcome these challenges by recruiting good teams, training people properly and maintaining a consistent methodology across the board. It’s also important that staff within the Trusts have the ability to challenge decisions if necessary”.
Professor Bryony Dean Franklin, the chair of the meeting and one of PSTRC Leads said: “We were delighted to hear from the wide variety of speakers at the event. I very much hope that the symposium will lead to new ideas for innovative interventions that we can develop and evaluate, as well as further opportunities for collaboration”.
Professor the Lord Ara Darzi, Director of the NIHR’s PSTRC and IGHI said “Clinicians need to be engaged and empowered in order to understand and implement new and innovative ways to help improve the health of patients. We must also listen to the needs and comments from patients in order to develop an all-rounded view of patient safety within the NHS, implementing new policies and procedures accordingly”.
The Symposium was funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC) at Imperial.