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Monday, 19 April 2010

1,000 Lives Campaign

This week, the 1,000 Lives Campaign which was designed to improve patient saftey in the NHS in Wales comes to an end. Here is an article which I wrote for the Western Mail about the campaign.

Patient safety is the highest priority for anyone working on the frontline in NHS Wales and it’s making a real difference in primary care.

That’s why the British Medical Association strongly supports the 1000 Lives Campaign and works hard to highlight those areas of patient safety and care that are important to our members.

For doctors, safety and quality go hand in hand, and the Campaign has created a focus around which those can be considered every day, in every patient contact, by health professionals and managers alike.

As we come to the final months of this two year campaign, we are pleased to see how much progress has been made across Wales.

When the initiative was launched in April 2008, it was the first time that primary care had been included in a similar patient safety campaign anywhere in the world.

Wales has led the way and our members have contributed in many of the Campaign’s areas, including improving leadership, medicines management and general medical care.

We have seen the impact made by establishing patient safety WalkRounds and culture surveys which have empowered our members to talk about their concerns and hopes for improvement.

Again Wales has led the way in this area, becoming the first country to arrange a safety culture survey for its general medical primary care services at a national level.

And the response from our members have been extremely positive with over 60 per cent of GP practices taking part.

The results have been helpful in identifying aspects of care working well, but also raised areas where there is scope for improvement.

BMA Cymru supports a healthcare service that listens to the concerns of doctors, acts on those concerns to improve safety and quality of care, and in which health professionals are not afraid to speak out.

Last year we published the ‘Speaking up for Patients’ report based on survey responses from 565 doctors working in England and Wales.

Almost three quarters (74%) said they had concerns about issues relating to patient safety over the course of their career.

Within in this group, 73% said their concerns related to standards of care.

Seven in ten doctors said they had raised their concerns but were not always satisfied with the response.

Often they were not asked for further information or made aware if any action was taken to improve the issue.

WalkRounds and culture surveys have the potential to examine and improve patient safety issues across the whole patient pathway.

Other areas that have helped to improve patient care are in medicines management and work to improve the quality of life for chronic heart failure patients.

More than 80 GP practices are working with Health Boards to reduce, where possible, the number of unnecessary hospital admissions for patients with chronic heart failure.

The promotion of evidence-based procedures such as timely and accurate diagnosis, medication therapy, and lifestyle advice could make a significant impact on the disease process.

GPs are also currently carrying out detailed work to improve the reliability of instructions given to patients about their medication.

We have already seen the difference this has made for patients who take Warfarin and we are looking at other areas including diabetes.

The development of the primary care trigger tool to measure improvements is also being embraced by members.

We know that all our GP practices are continually making changes to ensure the care they deliver to their patients is the best possible.

But now, thanks to the trigger tool they will be able to actually measure those improvements, see how they are working and if they are making a difference.

One of the fundamental features of the new tool is looking at harm caused by failure to recognise or adequately manage a new presentation of an acute illness.

If a patient’s problem does not respond to treatment or they develop an adverse reaction, they are likely to make another appointment.

It is these unscheduled reattendances that can act as triggers of possible harm.

We are proud to see the progress made through the 1000 Lives Campaign, and that doctors across Wales are playing their full part in it.

BMA Cymru will continue to support the Campaign and to highlight those areas of healthcare over which our members have concerns – so that patients can look forward to even safer services in Wales.

What are your views on the 1,000 Lives Campaign?

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