The 4th National Patient Safety Conference took place in Croke Park on 7th November 2014. Representatives from the Pharmapod Team were in attendance on the day.
The conference was opened by the Minister for Health, Mr Leo Varadkar, TD. The Minister praised the work being done by people across Ireland to improve patient safety, but noted that more needs to be done and that Patient Safety is and will be a key priority for the Department of Health and the HSE.
Professor Kieran Walshe and Dr Helen Bevan delivered inspiring key note speeches to all the delegates.
Professor Kieran Walshe is Professor of Health Policy and Management at Manchester Business School (www.mbs.ac.uk) and is the associate director of the National Institute of Health Research health services and delivery research programme. He is the editor of the Journal of Health Services Management Research, and scientific committee chair of the European Health Management Association (www.ehma.org). Professor Walshe has extensive experience of Care Quality Commission Quality Inspections. He spoke of the responsibility we, as healthcare professionals, have to use information once it has been collected. “The most important thing is what happens after inspection, if regulation is to work, it must drive ongoing improvement after the inspectors have gone.”
Dr. Helen Bevan has been a leader of large scale change in the NHS for more than 20 years. Helen spoke about the challenges of being an agent for change, particularly in current healthcare climates. She spoke of the importance of being an agent for change and a rebel, rather than a troublemaker.
The breakout sessions were fantastic, and it was so affirming to such a variety of high quality care initiatives and change management being undertaken by many healthcare organisations and professionals around Ireland. Medication safety was a key theme running through many of the presentations.
Dr Paul Ryan, from Woodview Family Doctors in Cork, delivered a presentation on ‘Methotrexate: a novel approach to safer use of a toxic medication.
Dr Tamasine Grimes from Tallaght Hospital and Trinity College Dublin discussed the Pharmaceutical Care at Tallaght Hospital Initiative (PACT). The initiative which aims to improve collaboration between pharmacists and medical teams in the acute hospital will now move from hospital wide as it has shown great improvements in outcomes such as lower readmission rates to the Emergency Department post discharge. The team are currently carrying out an economic value analysis of the initiative.
The nursing team from Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, discussed how the Safety Pause initiative has helped them to make safety a top priority in the delivery of safe, effective nursing care for children and their families. Safety Pause helps all teams to be more proactive about the challenges faced in providing safe, high quality care for patients. It aims to answer one question quickly and effectively ‘what patient safety issues do we need to be aware of today’. To be effective these questions must result in immediate action around the four P’s: patients, professionals, processes and patterns. The nurses use Safety Pause prompt cards throughout the day and also use the 4 Ps to structure handover at the start of each shift cycle. Ms Mary Traynor, CNM2, at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, also says that the initiative has brought great benefits to senior hospital management as risks are quickly identified and resolved. For more information on Safety Pause click here.
The afternoon sessions continued to build on the importance of culture to high quality healthcare. Dr John TIernan, Executive Director, at the Medical Protection Society, told delegates that the focus must remain on learning and reflecting if we are to drive standards of care improvement. Angela Tysall, National Lead for Open Disclosure, runs workshops across Ireland on being open and transparent with patients and healthcare service users, especially when things go wrong.
The value of open disclosure and honesty in healthcare was made apparent after Ms Ann Bridge from Patients for Patient Safety Ireland, shared her experiences of her own recent admission in hospital, and when her husband was admitted to hospital in Ireland and tragically passed away as a result of medical misadventure. Ms. Bridge’s address reminded all the delegates that they have a responsibility to be open and honest with every patient and service user they come in to contact with. Ann has extensive experience of working in improving patient safety standards and in sharing her perspective as a service user, carer and patient safety champion.