Airline style briefings aim to improve patient safety

The following article is reproduced with kind permission from Lifeblood, the original article was published on the 26th June 2014.

Trusts taking part in the new Sign up to Safety campaign will be asked to commit to giving patients “airline style” safety advice on their stay in hospital, a trust chief executive leading the campaign has said.

Twelve trusts have so far joined the campaign launched by the Health Secretary on 25th June 2014 and aims to halve avoidable deaths over the next three years.

It is being led by Salford Royal Foundation Trust chief executive Sir David Dalton and directed by Suzette Woodward, director of safety, learning and people at the NHSLitigation Authority.

Speaking to HSJ after the launch, Sir David said every organisation that had joined the campaign had been asked to commit to provide a safety briefing for every elective inpatient, an idea that has been inspired by the airline industry pre-take off instructions on what to do in an emergency.

“What this is about is contracting directly with patients so they can be aware of some of the issues and what they might expect,” he said.

Trusts will be given the option of using a video developed by Salford, based on a booklet first produced by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust, or producing their own material.

The video provides advice on how patients can help avoid blood clots and pressure ulcers and encourages them to speak to staff if they have any questions about their medication.

The campaign will focus on reducing pressure ulcers, medication errors and harm caused during labour and birth, as well as self-harm and harm from violence and aggression among mental health patients.

Asked how the campaign would measure whether it had been successful in halving avoidable deaths, Sir David said they would look at mortality ratios such as the hospital standardised mortality ratios and the summary hospital-level mortality indicators.

“I know some people don’t think they are a complete and useful measure. There are other measures under review at the moment but rather than wait and delay [starting the campaign] we’ll use existing measures,” he said.

A new measure of avoidable death based on an analysis of case notes is currently being developed by Lord Darzi and Nick Black at the request of NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh. The work began in July and is expected to take up to two years.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has repeatedly championed Salford for saving £5m through delivering safer care.

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