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Hospital patient safety

Published: 28 Dec 2015 00:01

Surgical mortality down 23.6 per cent.

Safer care in Scottish hospitals is helping NHS staff save lives on a daily basis, Health Secretary Shona Robison said today.

Analysis of figures from the Scottish Patient Safety Programme show it has contributed to a 23.6 per cent reduction in surgical mortality.

Welcoming the figures, Ms Robison, thanked NHS staff for their commitment to the programme.

Updated analysis shows that all 14 territorial NHS boards are now carrying out regular patient safety huddles, where staff meet to discuss how to reduce mortality and improve the flow of patients through the hospital.

This has helped the programme – which is recognised as a global leader – contribute to a 19.9 per cent reduction in sepsis mortality rates, a 15 per cent reduction in stillbirths and a 57 per cent reduction in self-harm among mental health patients.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

"I would like to thank all of the staff who continue to embrace the Patient Safety Programme, and are working to reduce incidents of avoidable harm in our hospitals.

"I'm really pleased to see that patient safety huddles are taking place in all board areas. The feedback we've had from staff is that holding these regular meetings helps to focus attention on safety, and the flow of patients through the hospital. Potential issues can be ironed out, and solutions can be put forward, and we're seeing positive results on the back of this.

"There is no room for complacency of course, but a 23.6 per cent reduction in surgical mortality rates is clearly an excellent sign. It shows our safety programme is saving lives.

"The programme has also been improving the recognition of sepsis through six simple interventions that can greatly increase the chance of survival. This has contributed to a 19.9 per cent reduction in mortality since 2012, which is a good example of how simple measures, consistently applied, can bring about big improvements in patient safety.

"The mental health arm of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme is based on 26 safety principles. These have brought about a 57 per cent reduction in self-harm and a 54 per cent reduction in rates of violence.

"Elsewhere we have seen a 15 per cent reduction in stillbirth, with a 65 per cent reduction in Tayside. Preventable harm in paediatric care has reduced by 30 per cent."

Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director, Scottish Government, said:

"Today is a chance to celebrate the work thousands of staff have done over nearly eight years of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme. Fewer infections, fewer falls, safer prescribing and less mortality. The core of the programme has been to empower staff to make changes in their clinical areas based on evidence and best practice. The Safety Programme shows it is possible to spread best practice around the country.

"It is also an opportunity to look forward, to be even more ambitious and to continue to put the NHS in Scotland at the forefront of the patient safety movement around the world. New work in sepsis, community pharmacy, dentistry and continuing the work in sepsis identification and reduction are just some examples of work underway.

"Patients and families in Scotland expect safe care and the safety programme is evidence that staff – clinicians and managers – work every day to make the system as safe as possible."

Notes to editors

More information on the Scottish Patient Safety Programme is available here: