Patient safety is constantly in the news. This is as a result of hospital infections, increased awareness among the public and a rising elderly population. Recent tragedies in care homes and in hospitals have also led to the UK population rightly demanding the highest standards in patient safety. Here are the leading safety concerns to be aware of in 2015.
1. The Growth of Superbugs
The emergence of MRSA means that many hospitals have had to revise their cleanliness regimes. Sanitary handwashes are now in evidence at the end of every hospital bed up and down the country in a bid to cut down the spread of this disease. Many companies, including Brosch Direct offer a wide range of products to help in the fight against disease. MRSA and other bugs are still a problem throughout the world.
2. Patient Neglect is Cruel
The scandal at Stafford hospital, in which cases of ‘wilful or reckless neglect’ towards patients were cited, has led to a review of NHS procedures across the organisation. The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has called for ‘wilful neglect’ to stop, according to the BBC. Families need to be confident that when a patient enters hospital they will be looked after with care and respect. Patients also need to rest assured that the Hippocratic Oath – ‘do no harm’ – will always be adhered to.
3. Access to GPs
With a growing population and increasing pressure on local doctors, many are concerned that patient safety could be compromised. A report in Daily Mail this year highlighted the fact that a Leicestershire surgery had been put into ‘special measures’ as it could no longer adequately care for the patients on its lists. Poor out of hours service was one of the issues raised, and with hospitals already missing targets on Accident and Emergency (A&E) waiting times, patients were left in a vulnerable position. Some ambulance services have also had problems in caring for the communities they serve.
4. Norovirus is Dangerous for all
Every year the winter vomiting virus, otherwise known as Norovirus, puts tremendous burdens on the general public and hospital patients. Putting essential hygiene practices in place can slow down the spread of this potential killer – if you are worried that you have caught the bug and want to visit a friend or relative in hospital, stay at home. You’ll be doing yourself and others a favour.
5. Lack of Communication
Hospitals have been urged to improve their communication skills. When someone is ill in hospital, their families want to know what is wrong with them, how the patient is to be treated, and if they are elderly, when it is safe for them to return home. Lack of communication about these basic issues leads to frustration, panic and irritation. Coordination between care agencies also leads to problems and fears over patient safety.
6. Language is Vital
Staffing problems throughout the NHS are responsible for a wide number of health care staff being recruited from overseas. These staff members might have superb medical qualifications but if they can’t communicate with patients or relatives, then this issue could lead to misunderstanding and effectively compromise patient safety.