We are one of the best trusts in the country when it comes to keeping our patients safe. In recent years we have won the Board leadership category in the national Patient Safety Awards. This recognised the commitment our board of directors have to the safety of our patients and the quality of care we provide.

We are measured and monitored by NHS independent regulators on a number of key areas and in addition have put internal measures in place to improve patient safety:

Mortality rate

The death rates for all NHS trusts are calculated and published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. These include deaths in hospital and deaths within 30 days of discharge from hospital. The rates are published in a way that enables trusts to compare their performance with an expected level based on the national average. Trusts are then placed into one of three bands: ' better than expected' , ' worse than expected' or ' as expected'. Our mortality rating is 'as expected'.

Infection control

We take a zero tolerance approach to infections and do everything possible to prevent healthcare-associated infections such as MRSA and clostridium difficile (C.diff).

C.diff is present as one of the ‘normal’ bacteria in the gut of around 5% of healthy adults and in children under 2 years old but rarely causes a problem. It can cause illness when antibiotics disturb the balance of the ‘normal’ bacteria in the gut.

With MRSA many people can have it on their skin or up their nose (called colonisation) without it causing any problems. Others can go on to develop more serious infections. MRSA can be acquired in the community, therefore all patients who are admitted to our hospitals are swabbed for MRSA to protect themselves and other patients.

A learning organisation

We know that to continue to improve patient safety we must learn from any incident, no matter how small, so encourage all our staff to report these. Strong reporting is a sign that a trust takes patient safety and learning seriously. Our reporting system enables us to see if there are any recurring trends which we need to prioritise. For instance when the most common incident was patient accidents, we put initiatives in place to improve safety, such as patients having a risk assessment for slips, trips and falls.

Where an incident has been more serious we carry out thorough investigations.

Safe practice on the wards

Our executive management team go on ‘safety walkabouts’ where they visit wards and talk to employees at all levels so they hear their views on patient safety and their ideas about what can be done to keep improving things.

Strong communication between clinical staff is crucial to the safety of patients. We have introduced a nationally recognised system (SBAR) to ensure continuous high standards of care, for example ensuring effective handovers during shift changes.

Safeguarding

we take our safeguarding responsibilities very seriously and have dedicated teams to ensure that adults and children who use our services receive safe care. Please read more here.

NHS number

The National Patient Safety Agency has found that the largest single source of nationally reported patient safety incidents relates to the misidentification of patients. To help prevent this, we ensure a patient’s NHS number, which is unique to every patient, is used at every stage of treatment.

Patient safety days

Our clinical teams regularly hold patient safety days where they address any issues and put improvement plans in place if required.