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Dr Philippa Whitford MP speaking in Parliament as seen on Parliament Live

Scottish Patient Safety Programme Success

Last week in Parliament, I took the opportunity at Health Questions to invite the UK Health Secretary to come to Scotland to see for himself our world-leading Scottish Patient Safety Programme in action. As highlighted in the British Journal of Surgery, the introduction of the programme resulted in an incredible 36% reduction post-surgical deaths and has seen it gain international recognition.

Essentially, the Programme made patient safety the number one aim of NHS Scotland, taking many lessons from the airline industry, such as introducing ‘pre-flight checks’ in operating theatres to reduce surgical errors. It has since been rolled out into many areas of NHS Scotland with reductions in stillbirths, sepsis, bed sores and many other devastating complications which can lead to death or disability.

These patient safety systems are of greatest importance when staff are busy and rushed off their feet and might fail to spot a problem on their own. As well as saving lives, and being better for patients, it is also economically advantageous as reducing mistakes and complications also reduces costs. Unfortunately, the ‘Market’ approach to healthcare in England over the last decade has led to financial pressures overshadowing clinical priorities as NHS Trusts compete for crucial contracts to survive. This was found to be at the heart of the Mid-Staffordshire Hospital scandal as staff concerns were ignored by managers who were just focussed on achieving Foundation Trust status rather than good patient care.

While in Scotland staff are also often under pressure, our NHS remains a unified public body which allows improvement projects to be introduced across the whole service and for care to be patient-centred, focusing on quality and safety rather than just cost. It is also more cost effective as billions of pounds are wasted putting contracts out to tender and in the administration costs of England’s NHS.

You can view my question here:



About the author 

Heather Knox

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