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Collaborating to reduce harm – How our network is making invasive procedures safer

23 January 2020 | Dr Annie Hunningher

The new year and new decade provides a perfect opportunity to reflect and consider what we have achieved and hope to achieve for safety.

Coming together to improve care and reduce harm

In the midst of the political turmoil of 2019, the news may have been missed that a network of trusts across UCLPartners came together to discuss and collaborate for invasive safety. Invasive safety is surgical safety plus other ‘invasive procedures’, such as endoscopy, cardiology and interventional radiology, as described in the National Safety Standards for Invasive Procedures. The standards take us beyond the WHO checklist and into not only what the team does, in their sequential safety steps but what the organisation does to support them. The aim is to improve care, reduce harm and reduce invasive never events through a process of standardisation, harmonisation and education.

Enhanced safety visits, a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) curriculum and revised checklists

Over the past year, seven hospitals have come together as a network to look at the bigger picture of invasive safety. The network has included sessions on multidisciplinary education, human factors, metrics, leadership and implementation. Often hospitals become focussed on the hard numbers – such as never events – and haven’t considered the longer game of qualitative metrics that are more meaningful and representative of improvement. The network is developing a number of tools through collaboration including enhanced safety visits, an MDT curriculum for team training and revised checklists.  

Time to think and tackle challenges

Working with peers across UCLPartners has undoubtedly been interesting and beneficial. The pressure that hospitals are under for efficiency and beds can be overwhelming and we have to ensure and be vigilant that safety remains our first priority. The network has helped us recognise that we are not alone in trying to make hospitals safer. It allows the participants breathing space, time to think, an opportunity to collaborate and share successes which refreshes them ready for the challenges.

We’ve achieved so much by working together over the past year and I’m excited for the future of the network and the changes we can make as a collaborative to make invasive procedures safer for the patients we care for in the future.

Find out more about the Invasive Procedures Safety Network