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News

Patient safety & health & safety: two sides of the same coin: minister addresses patient safety

HSE InfoLine : 02 February, 2006  (Company News)
Addressing healthcare staff and patient safety experts at the National Patient Safety Agency's event 'Patient Safety 2006', Lord Hunt pointed out: 'Injuries from incidents such as falls account for around a third of patient injuries. For health services staff, 54% of major reported injuries are due to slips, trips and falls, compared with 34% across all employment sectors. Given that the vast majority of such injuries result in broken bones, the costs to the health services in staff absence are phenomenal, while those injured endure a great deal of pain and suffering.'
'The safety of patients and staff is paramount,' Lord Hunt, Minister for health and safety said today. 'The costs of getting it wrong are unacceptable, both morally and economically.'

Addressing healthcare staff and patient safety experts at the National Patient Safety Agency's event 'Patient Safety 2006', Lord Hunt pointed out: 'Injuries from incidents such as falls account for around a third of patient injuries. For health services staff, 54% of major reported injuries are due to slips, trips and falls, compared with 34% across all employment sectors. Given that the vast majority of such injuries result in broken bones, the costs to the health services in staff absence are phenomenal, while those injured endure a great deal of pain and suffering.'

'The slips and trips example illustrates the synergy between patient safety and health and safety,' Lord Hunt continued. 'Whether the risks are to patient safety or staff, our two organisations are promulgating the same messages the effective management of risk. Good health and safety, and patient safety, must be integral to good business management.'

Lord Hunt continued: 'The NPSA is still relatively young. HSE has a longer history, and can demonstrate that its approaches work. The last 30 years have seen significant reductions in the rate of fatal injuries to workers. A recent report stated that half of the incidents to patients could have been prevented. I hope that the successes of health and safety will give you faith that inroads into patient incident rates can be similarly reduced.'

One in ten admitted patients experience some form of harm, costing the NHS 2 billion, while 40 million working days are lost to UK businesses as a result of occupational ill health and injury, costing 12 billion a year.

Lord Hunt spoke about key strategies aimed at taking forward improvements in these statistics. Referring to the importance of the Government's 'Health, Work and Well-being Strategy', he outlined its vision in achieving a society where:

the health and well-being of people of working age is given the attention it deserves;
healthcare services meet the needs of people of working age so they can remain in, or ease their return to work;
work offers opportunities to promote individual health and well-being, and access to and retention of work promotes and improves the overall health of the population.
Lord Hunt concluded his presentation: 'Both HSE and NPSA are key to engaging those who can really make the difference in health and safety and patient safety, and will continue together to ensure that the lessons are learnt to reduce the toll of incidents. A safe workplace, is a happy workplace for staff, better able to care for patients, and so a safer environment for them too. The two organisations have a great deal to offer to ensure that this is achieved.'
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