sign up to safety campaign

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has signed up to a campaign to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world.

‘Sign Up to Safety’, which is led by NHS England, has the ambition of reducing avoidable harm by half in the NHS over the next three years – saving 6,000 lives as a result.

Giles Thorpe is a registered nurse and deputy director of clinical governance for the Trust. He said: “Doing all we can to keep patients safe must be our number one priority. We will be measuring our performance in areas such as hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, falls and deteriorating patients. We are determined to maintain our high standards for the quality of care we deliver and learn lessons if we make mistakes.”

The campaign champions openness and honesty and supports everyone to improve the safety of patients. We have made five pledges and will monitor performance over the next three years:

Put safety first

Commit to reduce avoidable harm in the NHS by half and make public the goals and plans developed locally.

Nurse at hand over discuss key issues which affect patient safety 

A ‘Message of the Week’ focussing on patient safety issues has recently been launched for clinical teams to discuss at every handover. The message covers best practice around issues like infection control, pressure ulcers, falls, patient notes and sepsis. It will be communicated at the Stepping Up Now meeting every Monday and then sent to Heads of Nursing to cascade to their teams. The message will also be posted on The Hub. The aim is to focus the minds of clinical teams on key issues which affect patient safety.


Take a leading role in supporting local collaborative learning, so that improvements are made across all of the local services that patients use.

This involves our continuing relationships with external agencies such as our commissioners, mental health and social care.

The harm-free care group is made up of people from healthcare organisations across the county, including the Trust, and meets bi-monthly to share learning and develop relationships, to provide safe care.

Lisa Allen, chief nurse from Basildon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is vital for healthcare commissioners and providers to work in partnership to ensure we all provide safe care to our patients, consistently across all services.”

Be honest

Ensure we are transparent about our progress to tackle patient safety issues and support staff to be candid with patients and their families if something goes wrong.

Karen Berry

Karen Berry (pictured) was recently appointed quality governance and complaints manager. She is responsible for ensuring that complaints and serious incident investigations are coordinated, with patients and families kept informed from the outset and included throughout the process.

Karen says: “New rules about our duty of candour as an NHS trust come into force this spring. But our trust has been meeting these standards for over a year, ensuring patients, relatives and carers are given open and honest information and are fully included as partners in improving standards of care.

“Staff are encouraged to report all concerns, so we are constantly learning and alert to any potential safety issues and better able to avoid them becoming serious.”

In her new role, Karen will be liaising with the patient experience team. She adds: “Listening to patients is key to being open and honest – what they think is working and what needs improving – and allowing their experience to influence our safety improvement measures.”

Continually learn

Be more to risks by acting on the feedback from patients and by constantly measuring and monitoring how safe our services are.

Doctors rounds and nurse handovers are an essential part of patient safety. Not only do they ensure all staff are fully briefed on a patient’s history and condition, it is vital when it comes to the correct management and discharge of a patient.

Dr Godwin Simon, Consultant for acute medicine, diabetes and endocrinology, said: “Board and ward rounds give us the opportunity to have everyone involved in the patient’s care at the same place at the same time to identify any potential issues and address them, to ensure the patient receives safe care.”


Help people understand why things go wrong and how to put them right. Give staff the time and support to improve and celebrate the progress.

harmfree group

The Trust already has several methods in place for supporting staff to learn from patients’ experiences, share learning and successes. These include the clinical governance symposium, after action review groups and Schwartz rounds.

Another tool is the harm-free evaluation group, which meets every Thursday to discuss incidents of falls and hospital acquired pressure ulcers. Lead nurses, specialists and senior ward nurses meet with Matt Rangue, associate director of quality and nursing, to discuss incidents with the aim of raising awareness and learning from mistakes.

Matt said: “The meetings help clinical staff from across the Trust focus on working together, with the aim of highlighting any issues and learning together.”