8 March 2016
These are the findings of two reports launched today by researchers from Imperial College London. Both reports, produced by NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC), provide evidence on the current state of patient safety and how it could be improved the future. They urge healthcare providers to embrace a more open and transparent culture to encourage continuous learning and harm reduction.
The first report focuses on the current system used by NHS staff to report patient safety incidents, called the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS).
Erik Mayer, lead author of the report, from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial, explains:
“The UK has one of the biggest incident reporting systems in the world. But despite this, evidence suggests that as little as 5 per cent of patient safety incidents are reported. This is often related to the culture of institutions and the culture of medicine. For instance, staff may witness an incident that should be reported, but are hesitant to do so for fear of repercussions.”
The second report, Patient Safety 2030, suggests a ‘toolbox’ for patient safety. This would include: using digital technology to improve safety; providing robust training and education, and strengthening leadership at the political, organisational, clinical and community levels.
However, the authors warn that interventions implemented to reduce avoidable patient harm must be engineered with the whole system in mind, and empower patients and staff to become more involved in preventing harm and improving care.
The publications: “NRLS Research and Development Final Report”, funded by NHS England.
The “Patient Safety 2030”, funded by a grant from the Health Foundation, an independent charity.