RCSEd Marks World’s First Patient Safety Day

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17 Sep 2019

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) is today (17th) recognising the first ever World Patient Safety Day - a campaign created by the World Health Organisation to make healthcare safer.

The College’s Patient Safety Group will be launching a webinar series featuring contributions from renowned world experts in the patient safety arena drawn from a wide range of disciplines including surgery, anaesthetics, clinical psychology and law.

Seven of the series of 12 will be launched on patient safety day and will be accessible internationally.

Topics covered include WHO surgical safety checklist, medical error, systems approaches to improving patient safety, morbidity and mortality meetings, duty of candour, team simulation and informed consent.

The campaign is also targeting patients themselves, so that they know when to speak up for themselves and play a bigger role in the decision-making process of their treatment.

Unsafe care takes place predominantly in low and middle-income countries, where four out of 10 patients are harmed in the primary and ambulatory settings - 80% of these incidents could be avoided.

Professor Mike Griffin OBE, President of the RCSEd, said:

“Today is of paramount importance. It’s not always about how skilled a surgeon is with a knife; non-technical surgical skills, such as situational awareness and good communication, can be just as key.

“It is often basic things that can be overlooked – such as one surgeon not knowing another surgeon’s name in the operating theatre – that can put a patient at risk.

“We’re working hard to ensure that these avoidable issues are eradicated from the surgical profession across the world.”

RCSEd is working to combat this phenomenon through educational, examination and audit activities in the UK and across the world, such as its Non-Technical Skills for Surgeons courses covering situation awareness, decision making, communication and teamwork and leadership.

RCSEd’s Informed Consent course is also helping to increase patient safety as it aim at making sure that patients are part of the decision-making process with their treatment.

94% of those who attended the most recent course in Birmingham left saying that they would look to change their practice as a result.

The Informed Consent course was created following the landmark Montgomery case, which saw a pregnant woman give birth to a baby with severe disabilities. Her doctor did not warn her that as she was diabetic and of a small stature there was a 10% chance that her baby’s shoulders would be unable to pass the pelvis. She claimed that, had she been told, she would have asked for a caesarean.

Professor Griffin added:

“We’ve come a long way in recognising the skills and procedures that can be put in place to prevent unnecessary deaths in hospitals, so it’s key that we all share our learnings and put patient safety at the forefront of the industry's, the public’s and policymakers’ minds.”

“While the UK is very focused on patient safety, we could still be doing things to improve – the Montgomery case is a perfect example of that.”

To follow or engage in the conversation use the hashtag #WorldPatientSafetyDay and #PatientSafety

World Patient Safety Day was established as 194 countries pledged to mark the date at the 72nd World Health Assembly. On this day, every year, WHO will shine a spotlight on patient safety to increase awareness, enhance global understanding, and spur global solidarity and action.

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