It is estimated that over 850,000 incidents harm or nearly harm National Health Service (NHS) hospital patients in the UK each year. Furthermore, on average 40 incidents a year contribute to patient deaths in a single NHS organization. Incidents include medication errors, infections during treatment on intensive care units, and infections associated with surgery.
Sponsored by The Health Foundation, the Safer Patients Network launched in June 2009, continuing the important work begun in the Safer Patients Initiative (2004-2008) to find practical ways of making acute hospitals in the UK safer for patients. The Safer Patients Initiative demonstrated the health service’s potential to ensure patient safety and has influenced the national safety initiatives across the UK, spreading the approach across the UK health services.
The Safer Patients Network continues to build on the safety expertise gained in the Safer Patients Initiative (SPI), with 18 of the original 24 SPI sites joining as network members. Sites in the Safer Patients Network will test, develop, and export ways to make health care safer for patients and build improvement skills in their systems of care.
The aim of the network is to work together to develop the network as a self-sustaining, member-driven community of practice to catalyze improvements to patient safety.
The Safer Patients Network will:
- Sustain and strengthen the impact of the Safer Patients Initiative;
- Create opportunities to test and develop new approaches to patient safety (others within the network and the wider health system can then take these forward); and
- Build capability in the service by establishing accredited sites, that will then offer coaching, mentoring, and support in improving patient safety to the wider health system.
The network will further the development of skills and knowledge to ensure safe and reliable care. It will also look to how the network can spread safety improvements across the national systems in the UK.
Visit The Health Foundation's Safer Patients Network website for more information on the initiative.