Scotland's national patient safety programme is helping the NHS achieve impressive results, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon heard today.
Paisley's Royal Alexandra Hospital, which was recently praised by the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI), has reduced intensive care deaths by 12 per cent as well as cutting the average length of patient stay by over two days.
Ms Sturgeon said the Royal Alexandra demonstrates how government initiatives - when implemented in partnership with health boards, clinicians and patients - can drive up standards and deliver results.
The hospital is one of a handful where inspectors made no 'requirements' following an HEI inspection and its intensive care unit was one of the first clinical areas in Scotland to fully implement the Scottish Patient Safety Programme.
Ms Sturgeon said:"People are at the heart of our NHS and everyone in Scotland has the right to expect the highest quality care, where and when they need it.
"That's why we're working hard to ensure that NHS Scotland continuously strives to drive up standards and initiatives like the Scottish Patient Safety Programme and Healthcare Environment Inspectorate are key to this work.
"I established the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate to put our hospitals under unprecedented levels of scrutiny and ensure they meet the highest possible standards. In its first year, the inspectorate has done just that, carrying out 36 inspections and visiting every health board at least once.
"Not every report has been as positive as the Royal Alexandra - even here there was room for improvement - but the reports have been instrumental in bringing forward improvements. Indeed, the HEI chief inspector noted that the Paisley report showed it was clear the health board was taking reports seriously and learning lessons from previous reports.
"Similarly, the Scottish Patient Safety Programme is helping clinicians achieve impressive results. At the Royal Alexandra ICU, there hasn't been a central line infection for over a year and there have been no cases of ventilator associated pneumonia for over 100 days. This is obviously great news for patients and is helping to contribute to shorter stays in intensive care.
"The Royal Alexandra is a great example of how specific government initiatives are helping to improve patient care. But it's not alone - up and down the country other hospitals are reaping similar rewards and, just as importantly, sharing best practice throughout Scotland."
The Scottish Patient Safety Programme aims to reduce hospital mortality by 15 per cent and adverse incidents by 30 per cent. The programme works by giving frontline staff permission to make changes to the way they work with improvements being tested at ward level before being rolled out across the Health Boards.
The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate was established in March 2009. All acute hospitals will receive at least one announced and one unannounced visit every three years. By the end of September 2010, 30 announced and six unannounced inspections had taken place with more than 150 requirements and over 160 recommendations made. The first HEI annual report will be published next month. NHS Boards have published plans in response to these findings.
Commenting on the Royal Alexandra inspection, HEI chief inspector Susan Brimelow said: "It is clear that the health board are taking inspections very seriously, learning lessons from previous inspections and making improvements to reduce the risk of healthcare associated infection for patients and staff."
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