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Acute hospitals targeted for patient safety campaign

Interventions for acute patients will be first focus of new initiative

Lisa Hitchen

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

This summer will see the start of a new patient safety campaign for England, starting in hospitals.

From today, hospital staff can sign up for campaign workshops that begin in April. The launch, in July, will coincide with celebrations to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the NHS.

NHS acute trusts will be the first focus, as much high-risk, high-need work is delivered there. Staff will be encouraged to adopt evidence-based practice such as care bundles. 

These are a group of interventions that health teams must follow for patients having treatments that carry risks. The idea, developed through the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in the US, is that by carrying out all interventions together it will benefit patients more than if individual procedures were followed.

A few places have already adopted care bundles. The Welsh Critical Care Improvement Programme uses the ventilator-acquired pneumonia and central line bundles in every adult intensive care unit in the country, said Chris Hancock, its manager.

"All the units have been more than 95% compliant with the ventilator bundle since September 2006 and there is a similar figure for the central line bundle. Several units have waited several months in between infections, specifically central line infections and one has reduced its MRSA bacteraemias by 50%," he said.

The campaign follows Safety First: One Year On, the Chief Medical Officer’s report into the state of safety in the UK and is to be headed by Stephen Ramsden, who will work part time on it alongside his role as chief executive of Luton and Dunstable NHS Foundation Trust.

"Improving patient safety is something I am absolutely committed to,’ said Mr Ramsden. ‘Since 2004, when Luton and Dunstable was chosen as the lead site for England to undertake the Safer Patients Initiative, our staff have achieved tremendous improvements for patients. I am excited by the prospect that all NHS organisations will want to get involved in keeping patients safe."

The campaign is supported by the National Patient Safety Agency, the Health Foundation and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.

Register for workshops here.

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