Partnership working focus in new AHSN Network Patient Safety Plan

Our plan for a safer future

There needs to be even more focus on working in partnership to make continued progress on patient safety in England. That’s the call from the AHSN Network in its new patient safety plan, published today (4 September 2019).

‘Patient safety in partnership: Our plan for a safer future 2019-2025’ has been developed to support the NHS Patient Safety Strategy published in July, and sets out how England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), and the Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs) they host, will work more closely with local health and care organisations to improve safety both in hospitals and community-based services, such as care homes. This includes Health Innovation Manchester and the Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire Patient Safety Collaborative.



AHSN Network Patient Safety in Partnership Strategy Report Cover

Natasha Swinscoe, lead AHSN Network chief officer for patient safety, said: “The NHS strategy is very ambitious and estimates that there is potential for a minimum of 928 extra lives saved and £98.5 million in treatment costs saved every year from 2023/4. We know we can make a significant contribution to this, both through our PSCs’ work supporting the delivery of the National Patient Safety Improvement Programme and the AHSNs’ focus on accelerating innovation.

“We want to bring together our local partners, regional NHS teams and national bodies like the Health Foundation and Health Education England to ramp up our collective work on patient safety. Our plan highlights some fantastic examples where we are already making a significant impact and identifies ways we could scale up this activity nationally and benefit many more patients.”

Examples include a drug to reduce the risk of pre-term babies developing cerebral palsy, a tool to help manage common health problems in care homes, and medical devices designed to prevent so-called ‘Never Events’ in hospitals. Collectively, they have the potential to save many lives and tens of millions of pounds.

Spotlight on: Improving safety in care homes

AHSN Network Improving safety in care homes report cover

A new report from the AHSN Network is shining a light on new ways to improve safety for residents of care homes.

The publication showcases over 30 examples of projects delivered by England’s 15 Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs) and the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) which host them. They include case studies in medicines safety, dementia, monitoring and screening, and workforce development.

Professor Martin J. Vernon, NHS National Clinical Director for Older People and Person-Centred Integrated Care, wrote the foreword to the report. He said: “Care homes are a crucial part of our national health and care system infrastructure and the safety and wellbeing of residents, who are among those with the greatest care needs, is no less important than in any other setting.

“The breadth, depth and quality of information in this report creates a valuable resource to anyone invested in improving care quality and safety for care home residents across the country.”

Approximately 410,000 people live in care homes in the UK, according to a Government study in 2017, and around 5,500 different providers operate 11,300 care homes leading to considerable scope for variation in their training and improvement practices.

AHSN Network Patient Safety Director Dr Cheryl Crocker, said: “Many residents have complex healthcare needs, reflecting multiple long-term conditions, significant disability and advanced frailty. All these factors make caring for residents an incredibly difficult job for care homes and their staff.

“Given this operating landscape, there are some fantastic examples of care, safety and quality improvement in care homes. The aim of this summary is to share good practice supported by the AHSN Network, and we are actively encouraging readers to get in touch with those who have shared their work for this report, to discuss how we can have even greater impact on patient safety and improvement in care homes.”

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