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Media Release

Date: 26 March 2014

RUH chosen to help lead patient safety campaign

The Royal United Hospital Bath's innovative work to improve patient safety has led to the Trust being chosen to help lead a national campaign, the Health Secretary announced today.

In a major speech on patient safety, Jeremy Hunt said that RUH would be one of 12 Trusts in England who will form the vanguard of 'Sign up to Safety' - a campaign which aims to embed an open, compassionate and transparent culture within the NHS and to reduce incidents of avoidable harm to patients.

Dr Tim Craft, Medical Director, said: "This is tremendous news for the Trust and reflects the hard work of all our staff in ensuring we are recognised as one of the leading lights in pioneering patient safety in England.

"We have been extremely innovative in the way we have worked to improve patient safety, involving staff at all levels. Patient safety is everyone's responsibility and we are absolutely committed to continually improving."

The Sign up to Safety campaign will focus on the following five pledges:

  1. We will put safety first
    At the RUH, patient safety is already our main priority, and we are committed to the overall aim of helping the NHS to reduce avoidable harm by half.
  2. We will continually learn
    We are committed to listening to what our patients have to say, and improving our services as a result. The Friends and Family Test has enabled us to capture a wealth of information from patients and made changes as a result. We constantly measure and monitor how safe our services are. Our nationally acclaimed See it my Way programme of staff listening first-hand to patients telling their stories was mentioned in the Francis Report as an example of good practice.
  3. We will involve people in improving safety
    We are committed to being transparent about our progress. If something does go wrong we will be open with patients and their families, and learn from what has happened.
  4. We will work with partner organisations
    We have taken the leading role in supporting local collaborative learning, so that improvements are made for patients. We host the South West Quality and Patient Safety Improvement Programme, which involves Trusts in the area working collaboratively to further develop a culture of patient safety and quality improvement, and we share learning regionally, nationally and internationally. This five-year campaign has seen harmful incidents halved and hospital mortality cut by a fifth across the South West.
  5. We will support our staff to champion safety
    We hold 'mini-collaboratives' involving both clinical and non-clinical staff, at senior and more junior levels, working together to find solutions to patient safety issues such as pressure ulcers and falls.

The RUH was featured on national television today as a case study of good practice with Sky News interviewing our staff about the work we are doing to tackle pressure ulcers.

Professor Carol Peden, Associate Medical Director for Quality Improvement, said: "We work very closely with our counterparts in other NHS Trusts to share what we've learned.

"In quality improvement we use the phrase 'steal shamelessly', which essentially means if there is a good idea which improves patient safety we should all use it.

"Our success in driving forward improvements has come from providing good leadership which empowers all staff to take action. Staff on the frontline are the ones who know patients best, and understand what the barriers might be to delivering great care.

"We believe that every member of staff has a role to play in improving patient safety, for example we have had cleaners say 'I never knew I could save a life too' after sharing their ideas during one of our collaboratives. Patient safety is everybody's responsibility.


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