Teams across Barts Health have been shortlisted for four HSJ patient safety awards.
The awards recognise and reward the hard-working teams and individuals who, in these times of austerity, pay restraints and workforce shortages, are striving to deliver improved patient care.
Developing a positive safety culture
The Barts Heart Centre was recognised in the ‘developing a positive safety culture award’ category for their complications review pathway which is creating a culture of improvement.
The new pathway involves reviewing safety events in interventional electrophysiology procedures (procedures which enable the diagnosis of heart rhythm problems) by looking at the process rather than apportioning blame. It has brought out a cultural change where colleagues feel safe to come forward and report complications in care, applying a duty of candour to all incidents (SIs).
The team is also working on building a safety dashboard from all learning themes rather than just those that get escalated as a serious incident.
Human factors approach
The surgery division at Whipps Cross Hospital was shortlisted in the harnessing human factors approach to improving patient safety category. The nomination was for their work on safer tracheostomy care.
After noting that many tracheostomy related SIs were due to human error, the team worked to design systems and environments that promote safe behaviours. These included conducting safety assessments, situational awareness, training and education to identify and manage risks and creating a compassionate workplace.
Following the interventions, the team found communication between staff improved, resulting in better teamwork and overall patient care. The rate of foundation tracheostomy-trained nurses and their competency improved during this process. The team now has a deeper understanding of how people interact with systems and how these interactions affect performance, safety and efficiency and will inform other models across the group.
Initiative of the year
Our maternity and midwifery teams were shortlisted twice for initiative of the year. The team was recognised for their work in reducing ‘never events’ of retained swabs, and safer procedures in maternity services.
The impact of retained vaginal swabs can be severe and include serious physical and psychological complications. Additionally, ‘never events’ cause harm and distress not only to patients and their families but also to staff who are involved.
Quality Improvement teams at each maternity department across the Trust aimed to eliminate such ‘never events’ occurring. They sought staff and patient feedback, completed process mapping and root cause analyses to understand and identify causes of the problem. Thanks to this work, they ensured that a retained swab ‘never event’ has not happened since February 2022. Also adherence to safety checks increased from 66% in March 2022 to over 90% by March 2023.
Congratulations to all teams and best of luck for the awards ceremony in September!