Culture of reporting key in increasing patient care

May 29, 2014

In the fight against needlestick injuries for healthcare workers, it has been commonly suggested that staff members need to have the confidence to speak out against any bad practice they witness.

This may not seem like a considerable issue, but a culture of non-reporting has led to unreliable information, which is potentially masking the real scale of the needlestick injuries issue. This, in turn, has led to bad practice being missed, which has an impact on how new staff members - who are considered to be the highest risk - behave and conduct themselves when handling needles and other medical sharps.

For hospitals and organisations, it is important that a culture of reporting is encouraged from the most experienced staff to the newest healthcare workers.

The UK's health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has used a keynote speech at the Patient Safety Congress to address the need for reporting of concerns about the safety and quality of patient care.

Mr Hunt said he wanted the country's National Health Service (NHS) to be the first to implement "airline levels of safety", which would improve patient care, as well as provide support to hardworking employees.

Speaking in Liverpool, he said: “One of the key metrics we need to measure ourselves on is the number of staff-raised safety concerns, because that’s probably one of the best ways of really measuring whether we have a safe and open reporting culture.”

Mr Hunt said the NHS should learn from airline and nuclear industries, which practice more transparent reporting systems.

The health secretary added that NHS trusts must "create a culture where people on the front line feel able and encouraged to speak out if they see things that concern them".

Although this addresses a number of issues or incidents where staff members feel that daily practice is falling below the necessary standard, it also encompasses the need to encourage reporting when it comes to needlestick and other medical sharp injuries.

Needlestick injuries have been cited as the most dangerous risk facing healthcare workers, which has led to the introduction of new pieces of legislation to try and reduce the number of incidents. However, allowing staff to feel supported when pointing out and reporting mistakes, is an integral part of preventing the incidents from happening.


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