Leadership Message from Ant Brett

Ant Brett

If you reflect on one thing this week, please let it be this: civility saves lives!

Over the past 18 months, we’ve endured some less favourable public reviews but, despite this, I still see overwhelmingly positive colleagues holding onto their passion to deliver and support outstanding care.

As the evenings get longer and the weather, (this week at least!), seems a touch warmer, we can embrace the renewed optimism that brings. Sometimes that’s about going back to the basics of how we behave with one another. Did you know there’s evidence that shows better clinical outcomes, patient safety, and staff morale can be achieved simply by being kinder and more respectful to one another? We’ve all heard people say in the crew room: “That’s just the way it is”.

But it’s important to remind ourselves that we can change this attitude and become better versions of ourselves – no one else is going to do it for us. We all want to work in an environment where we can challenge appropriately and diplomatically, without fear of reprisal.

"We should also be comfortable to accept challenge without feeling gotten at or undermined. And this needs to run right through the organisation at all levels."

Not feeling able to challenge a colleague, if you see something going wrong, has been a recurring theme in serious incidents (SIs), that my team has investigated. There are usually two factors; a perception that our challenge won’t be well received and under-confidence in our ability to challenge.

I know we get acronymed-out (groan) but try PACE if you think an adverse event is unfolding:

  • Probe – “Would you like me to re-check the patient’s blood pressure?”
  • Alert – “Can I point out that the patient’s blood pressure is quite low?”
  • Challenge – “I need you to explain to me why you are not acting on the patient’s hypotension”
  • Emergency – “This is unsafe, and we must stop and get a third opinion”

A challenge, whether in a clinical environment or not, can absolutely be respectful and diplomatic. The bottom line is; be kind, be civil, and be considerate. It may save a life.

And you’re already helping us do that. Last week, Tracy shared that in this year to date, we’ve declared 50% fewer SIs than this time last year. With that, the level of harm to our patients has also reduced.

"What an incredible achievement in what have been difficult circumstances – thank you for your commitment to learning and preventing incidents reoccurring."

Our team is trying to support that by running our Learning from Incidents sessions please come along to one when you can - attendees have given us some great feedback!

It is also important we look after your safety as well, and following feedback from you, we are developing a procedure to trial body-worn cameras. I hope that over the coming months, there will be more news of this plan to better protect you at work. Watch this space.

Finally, it would be remiss of me to not thank you for your efforts to report incidents and apply Duty of Candour to your practice. Our Staff Survey results this year demonstrate that more of you feel confident to report incidents and feel fairly treated if involved in one. I have seen more colleagues feeling able to self-report too, which demonstrates a high level of self-reflection (great!) and trust in your line managers (even better!). This is great news, because without this platform for feedback, we can’t learn lessons and make improvements.

Please remember:

  • an incident is anything which happens away from the intended course, resulting in an unexpected outcome, i.e. a wrong medication administered, a patient injury, violence and aggression towards you.
  • incidents should be reported as soon as is practical on Datix, either via the SPOC telephone number, a Trust computer, or through the ePCR.
  • if you are involved in, or witness a patient safety event, apologise to the patient. This isn’t an admission of liability; it’s just the right thing to do. Explain that you will report the incident via Datix. Your Duty of Candour is then complete.

Please continue your passion for patient care; be honest and be kind, because it’s only together we can achieve greater things #WeAreEEAST

Ant Brett
Safety and Risk Lead

Published 21st March 2019

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