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…)
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…)
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…)
By Tamanna Miah
I attended the Communications Strategy event on 30 May 2017, which brought together a combination of patients, carers, members of the public, healthcare professionals, researchers and PSTRC staff members who work in communications. We discussed a wide range of issues and had the opportunity to feed into a draft communications strategy for the NIHR Patient Safety Translational Research Centre.
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?
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.
A year on from the publication of NRLS Research and Development, building an improved model for learning from incidents has been a top priority across the Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC) and the Big Data and Analytical Unit (BDAU). Researchers across our centres have been working in close collaboration with leaders at Imperial College Healthcare Trust (ICHT) to design evidence-based, practical solutions that work in the NHS.
We know that education and training are immensely important in ensuring patient safety. We also know that its benefits are not just direct (i.e. the attainment of knowledge and skills), but also include more nuanced gains (i.e. better communication skills, better teamwork, time for reflection which can contribute to overall personal growth). At Imperial College London, we’ve worked in patient safety for a long time (2002!) We’ve also worked in education and training for a long time. In fact, we’ve worked at the intersect of education/training and patient safety since 2007, with our MSc programme Quality and Safety in Healthcare.
by Sandra Jayacodi
As a servicer user who has been involved in research work and was a Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Research Fellow (2016), I was privileged to be invited to be part of the NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre‘s (NIHR Imperial PSTRC) Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) strategy working group.
The aim of the working group was to bring together researchers, healthcare professionals, patients, carers and public members to discuss and improve the draft PPIE strategy for the Centre. The event explored the practicalities of implementing the strategy and discussed how patient and public representatives could be supported in getting involved in research.
“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.