NHS Trust’s ‘harm free care’ praised nationally


A local NHS Trust’s work to ensure that its service users are free from harm has been recognised at a national level as good practice.

South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has been commended by Salford-based innovation and improvement centre Haelo for its involvement in the pilot of the Mental Health Safety Thermometer.

The Mental Health Safety Thermometer is a national tool that has been designed to measure commonly occurring harms in people that engage with mental health services. It is a survey that is carried out on one day per month and allows teams to measure harm and the proportion of patients that are ‘harm free’ from self-harm, violence and aggression, restraint, physiological safety and omissions of medication.

The Trust carries out the survey in its working age adult, older people, and learning disability inpatient units in Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield. Ward staff are asked to record data using a template for all service users on their units, and community staff collected data for each person they see in the community on the day of the audit. Over 50 teams take part in the survey.

The data collected throughout the survey has helped the Trust’s management of violence and aggression team to investigate how regularly restraint is used and in which wards, allowing them to discover patterns which point to potential areas for improvement.

The Trust is also planning to use this data to investigate medication omissions and why they occur, working with its chief pharmacists to implement service improvements aimed at reducing the number of missed medications.

Haelo is run jointly by Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Salford Clinical Commissioning Group and Salford City Council, and works to identify, adopt and spread innovation and best practice for the benefit of the population’s health.

Tim Breedon, director of nursing, clinical governance and safety at the Trust, said: “The Safety Thermometer tool is extremely valuable in allowing staff to collect important data on harms and work with services and their users to understand and improve upon care given. Staff are now beginning to see the usefulness of the tool and we are using the data in developments and benchmarking of services.”

Richard Watterston, physiotherapy professional lead and Trust lead for the Safety Thermometer, has helped a number of other Trusts to implement the Safety Thermometer within their organisation. He said: “The Mental Health Safety Thermometer looks at areas of care that are crucial to good quality mental health care, and by having our staff complete the audit we can use the data to ensure we are working to provide the best care possible. For our efforts in doing this to be recognised nationally is great for the Trust and the people in its care.”

More about South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s case study can be found at harmfreecare.org/casestudies.

NHS Trust’s ‘harm free care’ praised nationally

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