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Learning and healing after healthcare harm

Question from Yorkshire & Humber Patient Safety Translational Research Centre

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Have you, or a family member, experienced a "serious safety event" when receiving NHS care?

Did the NHS involve you in any investigation afterwards?

Involving patients and families in serious incident investigations

Understanding harm in healthcare

Around 10,000 cases involving harm or death are reported in the NHS every year.

These stark figures show that we must learn from these events, to reduce the risk of them happening again, and to help heal the trauma of those harmed.

An important part of understanding these events lies with the patients and families that have been through a serious incident. Harmed patients and their families have important knowledge about the circumstances surrounding the incident – information that health services need to learn from.

Harmed patients and their families also need help and support after serious incidents in healthcare. It is essential that healthcare organisations seek to understand, and act on, these needs when something goes wrong.

Our research study about serious safety events

We are examining these issues in our research project, which is run by a team of researchers led by Professor Jane O’Hara at the University of Leeds, and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

We are listening to the views of patients and family members – as well as staff and investigators – who have been involved in a serious incident in an NHS acute or mental healthcare service in England.

The research team is particularly keen to learn how patients and families are being involved (or not) in the investigation of these serious incidents.

How will this help?

We will develop guidance for the NHS on the role of patients and families in serious incident investigations.

This will be developed collaboratively with patients, families and staff, and will be tested by NHS trusts and the national independent agency for healthcare investigations (the Health Safety Investigation Branch).

We hope that the guidance will help staff to work sensitively and transparently with patients and families after serious safety events, to learn together about what has gone wrong, and what might help prevent future recurrences.

We want to hear from you

If you have experienced a serious incident in healthcare as a patient or family member, and are interested in taking part, we would really like to hear from you.

We will have a short one-to-one phone call with you to begin with, so you can ask questions and and we can collect a few background details.

After that, if you are eligible to take part in the study, and are still interested, we will have a longer interview with you (about an hour long) via video (Zoom) or a phone call, to suit you.

All information you share in the interview will be anonymised and kept confidential and you will be free to withdraw from the study at any time without giving a reason. We can't interview people who have been involved in an incident that happened less than a year ago, or who are currently involved in legal action related to the incident.

If you are interested in finding out more about this work, or taking part, please contact:

Katherine.Ludwin@bthft.nhs.uk (before mid-Jan)

or Siobhan.Mchugh@bthft.nhs.uk

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