SAM welcomes new patient safety strategy

By Dr Susan Crossland, vice-president of the Society for Acute Medicine

The new NHS patient safety strategy was launched this week by Dr Aidan Fowler, NHS national director of patient safety.

He has promised to listen and work continuously to improve patient safety within the NHS.

He spoke of insight, involvement and improvement as the three cornerstones of this and announced plans to replace the National Reporting and Learning System with a new Patient Safety Learning System.

Although it may be semantics, it acknowledges that while accountability can be important, the fear of blame rather than learning and sharing is a barrier to improvement.

He sees the medical examiner system as having an integral role in scrutinising death and has revamped a new Patient Safety Alert Committee to respond to new and emerging risks.

Involvement was a big theme, with a big role for patients and their advocates and a new Patient Safety Syllabus. There were various safety Improvement programmes announced, including medicines and mental health, and priority for learning from incidents around older people and those with learning disabilities.

The Society for Acute Medicine welcomes the new framework – the high risk environment members work in means that patient safety is always at the forefront of what we do.

We support the involvement of patients and their carers and would also like to see involvement at the grass roots of the NHS, a bottom-up approach from the front line.

As always, an engaged and full strength workforce will be integral to these plans and we continue to work with others in order to achieve this.