Patient safety and specifically medical errors have received a great deal of attention over the last decade following the publication of key reports, which identified that patients are harmed every year across the NHS as a result. These reports raised the profile of patient safety within the NHS. However, little was done to address issues of patient safety and harm at an organisational level. Therefore, the Health Foundation (a British charity dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare) in 2005 launched the Safer Patient Initiatives (SPI phase I and phase II) to test ways of delivering safer care on an organisation-wide basis.
The first phase of the study involved four NHS hospitals (one in each country in the UK) and 18 control hospitals over an 18-month period. In an innovative study design, the second phase of the study included nine SPI and nine control hospitals. Quality of care and patient safety improved to the same extent in both intervention and control hospitals. No additional effect of the Safer Patients Initiative could be detected. This could be because of general improvement of patient safety across the NHS as whole, which in turn may have attenuated the incremental effect, making it difficult to detect. Alternatively, the full impact of the safer patient initiative may be observable only in the longer term.”
Dr Maisoon Ghaleb, a lecturer in Patient Safety from the School of Pharmacy, was involved in the evaluation of this programme (specifically involved of the assessment of quality of care of patients admitted to these hospitals. It was apparent that quality and safety of NHS care has shown a clear improvement, but this programme had less of an impact on frontline medical staff and clinical outcomes than expected. More information can be obtained in the two large evaluation studies published on bmj.com on Friday 4th February, and The Health Foundation’s full report can be seen on www.health.org.uk
Patient safety and adverse events are a key government target optimisation of medicines use across the NHS as highlighted by the Department of Health (equity and excellence: liberating the NHS, 2010).
Currently, the School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice is focusing its research in patient safety including prescribing errors in primary care, medicines related problems (a major cause of Hospital related admissions) in management of elderly patients in hospitals, and human factors involved in clinical handover. The research group work with local NHS trusts to ensure the research impacts on the overall patient safety agenda. The school not only focus on medicines safety but the ever growing challenge of drugs misuse, which impacts through adolescents to adulthood.