In speeches given on the day, the Chair of our Board, Ted Baker, and our interim Chief Executive, Rosie Benneyworth highlighted that the establishment of HSSIB is ‘an unparalleled opportunity to improve patient safety.' They also emphasised that no investigation topic will be ‘off-limits’ if it impacts patients, that all patient safety organisations must work together and that the voice of patients and families remains vital in providing safer care for all.
As we head to the end of this year, Rosie and Ted give their view on the last three months and a look ahead to 2024.
A strong and independent voice
“We have made excellent progress in the months since our launch and continue to build on this as we head to the new year. Since our launch event, we have published five reports focused on some key safety concerns including the importance of GP continuity of care and what happens when the needs of people with learning disabilities aren’t met when they are cared for in hospital. On our launch day, we published an innovative report on safety management systems which looks at a structured, proactive approach to safety, learning from other industries, and we will continue to champion that approach.
“We know that, especially as we are now in the winter period, that there continues to be a huge pressure and demands on the system. We are here to support the agenda on safety and quality to help those who work in and are cared for by the health service. We are in the process of developing our HSSIB strategy and we are keen to get your views on this early in the new year.
“In the conversations we have had with national colleagues, with healthcare staff, patients and families, it is clear that they see us working on the biggest safety risks facing the NHS. In 2024, this will include examining mental health, IT and interoperability and digital innovation, workforce pressures, fatigue, and expanding on the safety management systems work we have started. We will also look to how we use insight from investigations to improve the health inequalities that people experience.
“As we look ahead to 2024, we want to thank all of those who we have worked with and supported us. Our pledge is that we will continue to focus on ensuring that our recommendations are impactful, leading to change for patients, that we are working collaboratively and being a strong and independent voice in the patient safety landscape.”
Building a coalition of support
“At the start of the month, we held our first public board meeting. The University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust was our host, and our board found the discussion with colleagues from the trust about the pressures their services currently face and the opportunities to improve safety practice enlightening and encouraging. Our future board meetings are set to be held at venues across England and will enable the board to understand healthcare safety from many different perspectives.
“We want to hear everyone’s views about how safety can improve. The coming year is going to be a pivotal year for our work, we need to set an ambitious and achievable vision and build a coalition of support for our recommendations to bring about real improvements in safety. We will need the continuing support of people working in health services, patients and the wider public if we are to realise our full potential.”