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Abstract

The Berwick review into patient safety recommended ‘involving patients in the healthcare organisation and seeking out the patient voice as an essential asset to monitor safety.’ (1) However routine data collection from patients in our institution is retrospective and doesn't focus on safety. Our objective was to create a patient-centred mechanism to monitor patient-perceived safety concerns and provide immediate resolution of highlighted issues. A pragmatic 6-question questionnaire was developed containing 4 scored and 2 free text questions. This questionnaire was piloted and adjusted before being administered to all inpatients meeting the inclusion criteria in our institution on one day. Safety issues raised were triaged and acted upon according to an agreed protocol providing a mechanism for immediate resolution. 225 patients were inpatients in the clinical areas surveyed of which 149 were eligible and 148 participated (99% participation). The majority (>95%) felt nothing about their stay was unsafe and felt they had no concerns about their treatment plan. However multiple themes regarding patient safety were identified including environmental issues, staffing levels, supervision of vulnerable patients and handover of clinical information. None of the issues reported by patients had been reported through existing hospital incident reporting systems. Safety issues triaged as requiring immediate attention were fed back to appropriate teams on the day to allow immediate learning. These results suggest that patients find safety reporting of their care acceptable via a simple questionnaire. Integration of this new process may increase overall safety reporting and allow targeted improvements in safety, quality and patient experience.

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