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London UK: Patient Safety Learning: 2022.

Unsafe care affects a wide range of individuals and organizations physically, emotionally, and financially. This report examines large system failures in the UK National Health Service to suggest actions that support learning and improvement. The publication highlights how public investigations, government reports, legal actions, and patient complaints can provide information to support the systems approach required to arrive at safe care.

London UK: Crown Copyright; March 30, 2022. ISBN: 9781528632294.

Maternal and baby harm in healthcare is a sentinel event manifested by systemic failure. This report serves as the final conclusions of an investigation into 250 cases at a National Health System (NHS) trust. The authors share overarching system improvement suggestions and high-priority recommendations to initiate NHS maternity care improvement.

Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; February 17, 2022.

Pre-hospital emergency care can be vulnerable to timing, information, and task failures that compromise safety. This investigation explores how computerized decision support system access played a roles in an emergency call-center program incident where erroneous information was transmitted to a pregnant patient that contributed to infant harm.

Fourth Report of Session 2021–22. House of Commons Health Committee. London, England: The Stationery Office; July 6, 2021. Publication HC 19. 

High-profile failures motivate examination and change of existing services. This report builds on maternity care failures in National Health Service trusts to recommend needed changes in learning from failure to effectively support clinicians providing maternity care, provide patient-centered care to mothers and babies, and learn from untoward incidents to enhance care safety.

Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; April 22, 2021.

Wrong-site surgery in dentistry is a frequent and persistent never event. This report examines a case of pediatric wrong tooth extraction to reveal how the application of safety standards is influenced by the work environment and discusses the use of forcing functions to create barriers to error in practice.

United Kingdom.

Patients and families that experience medical harm have unique support needs. This organization works to improve health system and clinician response to harmed patients. Their efforts aim to create a deeper understanding of the factors contributing to lack of response to concerns to enhance existing processes.

Ralston W. Wired Magazine. November 11, 2020.

Health information system downtime can affect patient safety. This story discusses a ransomware incident that affected patient care and the potential ramifications of a legal examination of accountability for the information system failure that contributed to a patient death.

Farnborough, UK; Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch. October 13, 2020

Errors of omission in routine care can result in patient harm. This report discusses factors contributing to a pulmonary embolism in a recovering stroke patient acerbated by a lack of intended but omitted venous thromboembolism or VTE preventative care. The system improvement recommendations drawn from the incident analysis include that the UK National Health Service develop a standardized approach to VTE risk assessment and broad-based training to enable a cross-section of clinicians to use VTE prevention devices as required.

Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; September 24, 2020. 

Unit-based pharmacy services help to mitigate and catch medication errors. This report highlights a case of a medication error death and describes how embedding clinical pharmacy services could have prevented this incident. The report provides system level recommendations to enhance this service including defining the role of clinical pharmacy teams and prioritizing the tactic as an important improvement strategy.   

London, UK: The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; July 15, 2020. ISBN 9781528620666.

Patient and family complaints can provide insights into system weaknesses if managed effectively. This report examined complaint handling at the United Kingdom National Health Service. The analysis found that lack of training, consistency and learning orientation reduced the effectiveness of the effort.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Organizations worldwide are focusing efforts on reducing the conditions that contribute to medical error. This website provides a collection of reports and other resources that cover activities and concerns of the 37 member countries active in the organization to address universal challenges to patient safety.
Stevis-Gridneff M, Apuzzo M, Pronczuk M. New York Times. 2020;August 8.
Residential care facilities have been challenged by COVID-19. This story examines the weakness of care processes in nursing homes in Europe that have been revealed due to the pandemic. Data gaps, resource allocation choices, and hospital space considerations are noted situations that have resulted in unintended consequences, reducing the safety of care for this at-risk population. 
Honderich H, Popat S. BBC News, Washington. 2020;Jul 27.
Omissions in standard procedure contribute to harm in a wide range of care environments. This news story highlights system failures associated with inmate testing prior to a transfer that resulted in a prison coronavirus outbreak. The story highlights how conditions, activities and design of the facility are contributing to the outbreak. 

Cumberlege J. London, England, Crown Copyright. July 8, 2020.

Implicit biases are known to affect the safety of health care. This analysis of the National Health Service (NHS) found weaknesses in NHS’ consideration of and response to women’s medication and medical device concerns. Among the recommendations submitted to improve patient centeredness and respect for patients are the establishment of central yet independent authority to serve as the conduit to address patient concerns and improve system safety accountability.
Guirguis A. The Pharmaceutical Journal. 2020;304.
Users of illicit substances are vulnerable to a variety of health concerns. This article discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic places illicit drug users at increased risk for COVID-19 due to their predisposition to infection and social contact; how disruptions to illicit drug supply chains increase risk for overdose due to drug substitution and; the impact of missing out on drug treatment services. The piece highlights the role of pharmacists in keeping this marginalized patient population safe.

NHS Improvement. Independent Mortality Review of Cardiac Surgery at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. NHS England. March 2020.

In-depth incident investigations provide details of care process examinations to motivate learning and improvement. This report examines cardiac surgery patient mortality at a National Health Service Trust over a 5-year period. It highlights weakness in professionalism at the individual and organization level as a contributor to the preventable patient deaths catalogued over that time.

Farnborough, UK:  Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; March 2020.

Missed or delayed diagnosis in maternal care can result in serious harm to both the mother and the child. This report analyzes a delayed diagnosis ectopic pregnancy incident and found that referral and discharge missteps contributed to the error.

Calvert J, Arbuthnott G. I thought Daniel was safe with the NHS. He wasn't. The Sunday Times (UK). March 1, 2020.

Front line staff concerns which are not treated with respect can undermine improvement efforts and patient safety. This news story illustrates how safety culture can be derailed by leadership misalignment of patient care mission with attainment of favorable pubic-facing quality ratings.

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Healthwatch; January 2020.

Organizations need to do more than report and collect complaint data to realize improvements based on what is compiled. This report highlights weaknesses in the UK National Health Service (NHS) incident reporting program. It argues that an approach involving improved public and organizational access to complaint information will optimize learning.