Staff play major role in 10 years of world’s first national patient safety programme

The world’s first national initiative to improve the safety of hospital patients is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

 

Over the last decade, the Scottish Patient Safety Programme (SPSP) has delivered many innovations across the country leading to a culture change in how health and social care staff work.

 

Patient safety is always our number one priority. As a result of our work on SPSP, all of our hospital staff now work to standard systems which ensure a systematic and more co-ordinated way of treating the patients in their departments.

 

By putting in place standard systems, patients can be assured they will be cared for in the same way no matter which of our hospitals they are in. 

 

Our staff have reduced the variance in care our patients previously experienced by working in this structured way. In addition, we have introduced new processes that have proven to be more reliable in delivering this consistently safer patient care.

 

Prior to SPSP, global evidence suggested nearly 1 in 10 patients admitted to a hospital would be unintentionally harmed and more than 40% of the incidents were avoidable.

 

However, significant changes in the way staff across our hospitals work have had far reaching benefits for patients across Scotland.

 

As a result, our patients now have shorter stays in our intensive care wards and fewer patients are contracting infections after surgery and on wards. 

 

Dr Malcolm Daniel, consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the GRI, led the critical care improvement work in the GRI’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

 

Malcolm said: “We tested – and made lots of changes – to the way we worked. As part of these changes we reduced the rate of some key hospital acquired infections.

 

“Our delivery of care has improved which has led to better patient health and shorter stays in ICU. Before we started the SPSP programme the ICU at GRI was often full with one in every six patients referred to us being transferred to a hospital with an available ICU bed.

 

“Within one year of the programme starting, our average length of stay had reduced, a bed was more likely to be available, and the number of patients requiring to be transferred to an ICU bed in another hospital was less than one in every 30 referrals.”

 


Dr Malcolm Daniel

 

As a result of his work in the SPSP programme in the Clyde sector, Professor Kevin Rooney was appointed as the national clinical lead for Sepsis and deteriorating patients.

 

Kevin said: “We identified changes to improve patient care and these completely transformed the way we continually measure our processes for improvement and change.

 

“It is now more than 2,275 days since our last catheter related blood stream infection. Previously, we used to have one a month. We now feel that diseases like this are entirely preventable and should be confined to the history books.

 

“SPSP has resulted in huge improvements in both health and social care for the people of Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Scotland as a whole. It has spread from health care to social care and finally education, making Scotland one of the best places in the world to live longer healthier lives.

 

Dr John Crawford, consultant anaesthetist, was the lead for the perioperative workstream for various surgical specialties at what was the Southern General Hospital at that time. However, John was then asked to lead the workstream across the whole of the board area.

 

Working with Karon Cormack, the programme manager, they put in place a number of changes that has resulted in improved clinical outcomes by preventing clinical incidents.

 

They introduced a surgical pause where a safety checklist is carried out just before operations. John said: “In addition to the surgical pause, staff also now carry out surgical briefs where they have a huddle before operations to ensure everyone is clear about the plan for the day ahead.

 

“We also stopped the shaving of patients with open razors directly before surgery, which research had shown to cause problems with post-operative infections. “

 

John believes SPSP should be celebrated 10 years on from its inception as all the changes in clinical practice that he and Karon worked on are still in place and continue to be relevant a decade later.

 

Medical director, Dr Jennifer Armstrong, said: “Healthcare is delivered within a constantly changing landscape. Given this, it’s a real testament to our dedicated staff that we have delivered so many improvements in patient care.

 

“It’s important that the range of programmes within SPSP have continually adapted to ensure it remains topical and relevant, while maximising the impact across the country of improvements in patient healthcare.

 

“We are determined, as a board, to continue to learn from the achievements we have already realised, reflect on the experiences of those who have been part of the process, and always strive to further improve patient safety.”

 

Since its inception, SPSP has expanded to support improvements in safety across a wide range of care settings including acute and primary care, mental health, maternity, neonatal, paediatric services and in medicine safety.

 

More recently the primary care programme has increased its scope beyond general practice to include care homes, dentistry, pharmacy, and community and district nursing.

 

 

Medical director, Dr Jennifer Armstrong said: “Healthcare is delivered within a constantly changing landscape. Given this, it’s a real testament to our dedicated staff that we have delivered so many improvements in patient care.

“It’s important that the range of programmes within SPSP have continually adapted to ensure it remains topical and relevant, while maximising the impact across the country of improvements in patient healthcare.

“We are determined, as a board, to continue to learn from the achievements we have already realised, reflect on the experiences of those who have been part of the process, and always strive to further improve patient safety.”

Since its inception, SPSP has expanded to support improvements in safety across a wide range of care settings including acute and primary care, mental health, maternity, neonatal, paediatric services and in medicine safety.

More recently the primary care programme has expanded beyond general practice to include care homes, dentistry, pharmacy, and community and district nursing.