Safer Patients Initiative Leads to Reductions in Mortality and Adverse Events in the United Kingdom

This improvement story originally appeared in IHI's 2006 Progress Report.
With the support of £4.3 million in funding from The Health Foundation, an independent charity in the United Kingdom, IHI has launched an ambitious program called the Safer Patients Initiative. The initiative is designed to create centers of excellence in patient safety in acute care trusts (provider systems) in each of the four countries in the UK. New clinical and organizational methods for preventing, detecting, and mitigating patient safety problems will ultimately be spread throughout the UK.
At NHS Tayside in Scotland, which provides primary and secondary care for 400,000 residents in Dundee and surrounding communities, five teams are working on specific areas of safety improvement, including medication safety, the use of Rapid Response Teams, use of IHI’s Ventilator Bundle to reduce the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia, reduction of infections for surgical patients, and better methods of communication among staff. 
Gail Pennington, Patient Safety Coordinator for NHS Tayside, says that although it is still early in the initiative, they are already seeing a decrease in mortality figures. “There has also been a fall in the volume of adverse event rates per 1,000 patient days, from seven percent in October 2004 to 1.5 percent in July 2005,” she says. Tayside is working in collaboration with the other safety sites to identify and share best practices.
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