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The Patient Safety Commissioner for England, Dr Henrietta Hughes, has visited the John Radcliffe Hospital to learn about the progress being made at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) around patient safety and quality improvement and to find out about research being conducted to improve patient safety.  The role of the Patient Safety Commissioner for England is to promote patient safety and make sure patients’ voices are heard. During the visit on Friday (16 February 2024), Dr Hughes met Dr Rustam Rea, OUH Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Director of Patient Safety and Effectiveness, Paula Gardner, Interim Chief Nursing Officer, Caroline Heason, Head of Patient Experience and Patient Safety Partner Sylvia Buckingham.

Dr Rustam Rea said: “We were delighted to be able to meet Dr Hughes and present to her the many initiatives being implemented here at OUH around patient safety and quality improvement.

“We not only discussed our key themes under the Patient Safety Incident Response Framework and emphasised our commitment to quality improvement methodology, but we were also able to outline some of our key projects, such as reducing falls, medicines safety and reducing avoidable red cell transfusions.”

Paula Gardner added: “It was great to be able to explain to Dr Hughes how vital patients’ input is for the Trust, for example when responding to a patient safety event or when identifying our quality priorities for the year.

“We also highlighted how initiatives like Freedom to Speak Up and Reporting Excellence encouraging a positive culture of improvement and learning lessons with the aim of enhancing patient safety and delivering better care. We were able to outline the successes of our 2023 Quality Improvement Programme, and our plans for the coming year, including further improvements in Urgent and Emergency Care, Cancer Care and harm reduction.”

Dr Hughes then visited the Oxford Simulation, Teaching and Research Centre OxSTaR, part of the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences. The centre provides a state-of-the-art simulation suite where medical students and healthcare professionals can rehearse scenarios with realistic mannequin and patient actors.

The OxSTaR team has been developing and delivering award-winning training for over 15 years to improve individual and team performance in healthcare, with the overarching aim of putting patient safety first.

Helen Higham, Director of the OxSTaR Centre, said: “It was a real pleasure to share our work in patient safety teaching and research, and our vision for the future with someone who is obviously as passionate about this subject as we are.”

In her meeting with Dr Hughes, Helen Higham, said that patients are at the heart of OxSTaR’s work. She explained that the first human factors training at OUH, which focuses on systems-based approaches to improving safety, was developed over a decade ago to support staff in improving team performance and implementing robust solutions to safety concerns in their clinical areas.

She also highlighted how, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the OxSTaR team made all their learning materials freely available online, which was welcomed by healthcare practitioners worldwide.

Read more about Dr Hughes’s visit to OxSTaR:

Patient Safety Commissioner for England visits our simulation centre – Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences