Enhancing Patient Safety Through Physician Health and Well-being Research.

Keeping medical practitioners healthy is an important consideration for workforce satisfaction and retention, as well as public safety | Journal of Patient Safety


However, there is limited evidence demonstrating how to best care for this group. The absence of data is related to the lack of available funding in this area of research. Supporting investigations that examine physician health often “fall through the cracks” of traditional funding opportunities, landing somewhere between patient safety and workforce development priorities. To address this, funders must extend the scope of current grant opportunities by broadening the scope of patient safety and its relationship to physician health. Other considerations are allocating a portion of doctors’ licensing fees to support physician health research and encourage researchers to collaborate with interested stakeholders who can underwrite the costs of studies. Ultimately, funding studies of physician health benefits not only the community of doctors but also the millions of patients receiving care each year.

Full reference: Brooks, E. et al. (2017) Investing in Physicians Is Investing in Patients: Enhancing Patient Safety Through Physician Health and Well-being Research. Journal of Patient Safety: Published online: July 20, 20.7


Delivering care under pressure

NHS reality check: Delivering care under pressure | Royal College of Physicians | OnMedica

Image source: http://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/

Around three quarters of doctors (74%) say they are worried about the ability of their service to deliver safe patient care in the next 12 months due to pressures on the NHS, according to a survey carried out by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

The RCP launched a report today at its annual conference in which it detailed various concerns raised by the 2,101 doctors who responded to its survey.

The survey asked doctors about their experiences of delivering healthcare and their confidence in being able to raise concerns about patient care.

Focusing on their experiences of care over the past 12 months, 78% of doctors said demand for their service was rising and more than half (55%) of physicians believed patient safety had deteriorated.

More than a third (37%) said the quality of care had fallen while the majority (84%) had experienced staffing shortages in their team, while 82% believed the workforce was demoralised.

Read more on this at OnMedica

Full report: NHS reality check: Delivering care under pressure

New report from the national guardian for freedom to speak up

Dr Henrietta Hughes, national guardian for speaking up freely and safely in the NHS has published a new report, which outlines the progress made since her appointment in October 2016 | NHS Employers

Image source: CQC

Over the last 100 days, Dr Hughes has set up the national office and established a national network of Freedom to Speak Up guardians. Key points include:

  • 201 NHS trusts now have an FTSU guardian in place
  • twelve trusts are in the process of making an appointment of an FTSU guardian
  • 21 trusts have yet to appoint to the role
  • online resources and training available for guardians (including eight training sessions being led by the National Guardian’s Office (NGO)
  • guardians are encouraged to join regional networks to share progress and provide neighbouring support
  • the NGO plans to issue good practice guidance.
Read the full report here

Lack of workforce planning raises safety concerns, says former health minister

Rimmer, A. et al. BMJ. 356:j46


The UK government’s lack of workforce planning to increase junior doctor numbers raises concerns about the safety of increased weekend working, a former Liberal Democrat health minister has said.

Norman Lamb said that, without a guaranteed increase in junior doctor numbers, increased weekend working could compromise services during the week. He said that the health secretary for England, Jeremy Hunt, had not fulfilled a pledge made last year to increase the number of doctors in training to cover increased demand.

Lamb said, “My fear is that, unless you can guarantee that there will be more junior doctors employed, imposing a change which involves more hours being worked at weekends will inevitably reduce the numbers of hours worked during weekdays, when the pressure is at its greatest. This could result in real safety concerns.”

Speaking in the House of Commons on 5 September 2016, Hunt had said that “around 11 500 extra doctors will be trained during the course of this parliament.” In a letter to Hunt on 28 October, Lamb asked Hunt to confirm how many additional junior doctors would be working in the NHS each year until the end of the parliament.

Read the full article here

Pressure on NHS beds could risk patient safety

Pressure on beds in the NHS in England has become so acute that on any given day last winter, the equivalent of more than five extra hospitals’-worth of beds had to be brought into service to cope with surges in demand | Nuffield Trust

winter beds.png
Image source: Nuffield Trust

On the single busiest day last winter, an extra 4,390 beds had to be opened, equivalent to more than seven extra hospitals in one day.  And on average, over 95% of beds across English hospitals were occupied every day last winter, despite evidence that once bed occupancy rates exceed 85%-90%, there is an increasing risk of infection (see note 1). Given that pressures on the health service have not lessened over the last 12 months, Trusts will face similarly high bed occupancy rates this winter.

Read the full overview here

Read the full report here

Unsafe discharge from hospital

hospital-1338585_960_720The House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) has published Follow-up to Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) report on unsafe discharge from hospital.

The inquiry found that the discharge failures identified by the May 2016 PHSO report are not isolated incidents but examples of problems that patients, relatives and carers are experiencing more widely.  The committee identified a need for more data to be gathered on the scale and impact of these discharge failures.  It identified a lack of integration between health and social care is preventing seamless discharge processes, coordinated around the patient’s needs.