Press Release

Minister opens the 3rd National Patient Safety Office (NPSO) Conference in Dublin Castle

Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD today (Wednesday) opened the third National Patient Safety Office (NPSO) Conference in The Printworks, Dublin Castle.

This year’s conference focused on the importance of communication and to highlight the value of dialogue between patient and medical professionals.

Addressing over 400 attendees, including health professionals, health service managers and patient representatives, the Minister for Health said: “I cannot think of a more timely or vital issue to consider. Communication is the foundation of so much of what we do in the dynamic context that is modern healthcare. Good communication builds trust and confidence in both the system and those working and using the system.

“We have witnessed in recent months the effect poor or indeed non-existent communication can have on patients. It is important that lessons are learned and communication with patients remains at the heart of the health service.”

The conference heard from international experts including Professor René Amalberti, from France on the new challenges in patient safety and Dr Helen Mackie of the Scottish Government on practicing realistic medicine. The conference also heard from Prof Dawn Stacey from Canada on how best to support patients to be partners in decision making.

The National Patient Safety Office works across three streams: patient safety surveillance, patient safety policy and advocacy, and clinical effectiveness.

The conference also included the launch of The National Clinical Effectiveness Committee’s 18th National Clinical Guideline – Emergency Medicine Early Warning System. This new system for Emergency Departments is also aligned with other existing structures to identify clinical deterioration in patients.

The Minister highlighted the steps taken by Government in recent months in improving communications between patients and medical professions pointing to the new Patient Safety Bill.

He said: “I am pleased the new Patient Safety Bill has begun pre-legislative stage in the Oireachtas. The Bill will introduce a mandatory requirement to disclose serious incidents to patients and to report those incidents to the State Claims Agency and to the relevant regulator, e.g. HIQA or the Mental Health Commission. I would like to emphasise that what I want to see, and what my Department wants to see, is a high rate of reporting and disclosure.”

“I strongly believe that creating a culture of mandatory open disclosure and learning from things that go wrong is the bedrock of making services safer”.

Concluding his presentation to the Conference the Minister said: “The patient safety agenda will be very much to the fore as we move towards implementation of the Sláintecare report.”

The National Patient Safety Office Conference is being streamed live here

Further information available at: http://health.gov.ie/national-patient-safety-office/

ENDS

Notes to the Editor

What is the National Patient Safety Office?
The Minister for Health launched the National Patient Safety Office (NPSO) in December 2016. Located in the Department of Health, the NPSO was established to oversee a programme of patient safety measures and advise the HSE, HIQA and health professional regulatory bodies on patient safety issues. The NPSO has three primary work streams – clinical effectiveness, patient safety surveillance and patient advocacy and policy. The programme of patient safety centres on initiatives such as new legislation, including provisions for open disclosure, hospital licensing, the extension of HIQA’s remit to the private sector, the establishment of a national patient advocacy service, the measurement of patient experience, extending the clinical effectiveness agenda and setting up a new independent Patient Safety Council. Some key areas of work include:

  • Commitment to listening and learning from patients and the public through partnership with HIQA and the HSE on the National Patient Experience Survey, public consultation on patient safety complaints and advocacy policy and the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee’s (NCEC) Public Involvement Framework.
  • An outline of the work of the NCEC which includes the quality assurance of 18 National Clinical Guidelines in areas of patient safety such as early warning systems and sepsis; and one National Audit in the area of trauma.
  • A Patient Safety Surveillance function which will publish a set of patient safety indicators each year in addition to the annual National Healthcare Quality Reporting System.
  • Work on a policy on Patient Safety Advocacy and Complaints to guide the establishment of an independent National Patient Advocacy Service.
  • The National Action on AMR 2017-2020 (iNAP).