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Patient Safety Partners shortlisted for national award

A team have been shortlisted for a national award for their work to improve safety and patient experience.

Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) has 11 Patient Safety Partners, who regularly speak to patients, their families and carers about safety and what matters to them most.

They work with staff to address any issues raised and act as critical friend to help the Trust understand what it does well and where it can do more.

Patient Safety Partners have an active role in patient safety improvement projects, as well as governance and management processes for patient safety.

Their work has contributed to improved understanding of patients’ needs and concerns, which has led to a reduction in harm and complaints, and lowered the use of restrictive practice and medication.

The team, which launched in Spring 2023, have been shortlisted for the Patient Involvement in Safety Award in the Health Service Journal’s (HSJ) Patient Safety Awards.

Steven Yarnold, Deputy Director of Safety and Quality Improvement, said: “All our Patient Safety Partners are recruited to the role because of their diverse knowledge and experience with mental health services as a patient or carer.

“As a team, we work together to support clinical teams and services to identify and improve on safety matters raised by our patients, careers and staff.

“This is a collaborative approach where clinicians, patients and carers work together with senior managers and corporate services to solve problems to co-produce better services for all.”

Mark Dale, who is a Patient Safety Partner and the Trust’s Lived Experience Lead for Participation and Co-Production, said: “I’m really proud the team’s work is being recognised and that we are helping to make a difference for our patients and their loved ones.

“As Patient Safety Partners, we have an important role in making sure their voices are heard on all safety matters, not just on the wards but across the Trust.

“We are involved in Trust-wide committees and forums to share and embed learning and drive improvements to patient care and safety.

“We were involved in developing the Patient Safety Incident Response Plan, which sets out how EPUT responds to patient safety incidents, and have a key role in ensuring it represents the needs of patients and their families and delivers improved safe and therapeutic care.  

“The team also co-created a handbook that all Patient Safety Partners use to help them carry out their roles effectively, so we have been able to make these roles are own.”

The winners of the HSJ Patient Safety Awards will be announced on 16 September.

Patient Safety Partners are one example of how the Trust is taking a co-production first approach to ensure everything we do is in partnership with people who use our services.

We have about 200 lived experience ambassadors, provide invaluable contributions in many ways, including advising and designing what information, support and activities would most benefit our patients, providing peer support, and ensuring the views of patients and their supporters are heard.

In addition, our Co-Production Champions Network are involved in shaping and designing our services, our Lived Experience Education team help train staff and share their personal experiences to improve understanding of people’s specific needs, and we have a number of active networks and forums for patients and their supporters to share feedback and ideas to improve experience for patients, families and carers across our services.

Anyone who would like to find out about opportunities to use their experiences to make a difference to patient care can visit our Get Involved webpage and our Volunteering Opportunities page.

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