Over the past few months, I’ve been advising on two key patient safety improvement processes. I drew on my campaign experience with Patient Safety First and specifically using what we have learnt from our work with www.patientstories.org.uk
The first initiative is the “Never Events” Task Force which is to be led by the Royal College of Surgeon’s, supported by NHS England. Preliminary work began in April 2013 and a public consultation and deliberation process is due to begin later this month. I am joined on the Task Force by Clare Bowen, mother of Bethany Bowen, with whom I collaborated to make “Beth’s Story” which was short-listed for the Medical Journalist’s Association Winter Awards in 2011.
I also participated in an expert reference group to support the Care Quality Commission’s work on the new inspection regime for acute hospitals.
I’m normal very sceptical about such groups, often feeling that they are an excuse not to do things. I am also generally quite a poor “committee person” as I find their processes suffocating, circular and bureaucratic. But overall, I’ve been very encouraged by my experience. The “Never Events” Task Force had some great members, all of whom are really passionate about what they do. It was also expertly and independently chaired by my colleague and collaborator Dr Suzanne Shale, who designing the meeting processes with great care, skill and attention.
It’s also been very good to see the direct experience, testimony and knowledge of those who have suffered harm not only being heard, but actively valued and used. For too long their stories have at best been unheard and at worst, ignored.
The “Never Events” Taskforce has now reported (including four patient and staff stories that I researched and wrote) – The full report and a summary can be found here and a commentary written by Suzanne Shale is available on here.