Report recommends ways to improve patient safety

Better education and training of nurses will improve welfare of patients, says commission

A report has set out ways to improve patient safety through education and training over the next decade.

The document, produced by the Commission on Education and Training for Patient Safety, includes 12 recommendations for education and training body Health Education England (HEE). Among them is a call for a review of mandatory training requirements, and the delivery of continuing professional development (CPD) related to patient safety.

The commission said staff should have the skills to identify and manage potential safety risks and have an understanding of how the system and human behaviour impacts their own practice.

Education and training around patient safety was fragmented, and supporting research from the Centre of Health Policy at Imperial College London highlighted the challenges of accessing patient safety training.

There were 1.4 million patient safety incidents in England in 2013/14, of which 1.3 million were characterised as low harm or no harm, but 4,500 incidents resulted in severe harm. 

Half of all patient safety incidents are thought to be avoidable, according to The Health Foundation.

NHS staff were surveyed for the report. They said a lack of protected time was the biggest barrier to attending patient safety training. The Nursing and Midwifery Council code of conduct, which was revised last year, states that nurses and midwives should exercise their duty of candour, raising concerns if necessary and being open and honest when things go wrong.

HEE should help to create a ‘culture of openness and transparency’ by reviewing existing training packages to ensure they support duty of candour regulations, says the commission.

HEE director of education and quality Wendy Reid welcomed the report.

She said: 'The system needs to learn from errors and embrace transparency. Patients should be at the centre of care, we need to actively involve patients, carers and families in how we raise patient safety standards.

'This report is different from previous reports on patient safety published because, for the first time, the focus is on how education and training interventions can actively improve patient safety.' 

Read the report here


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