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Building a safer system

Enhancing safety across the Oxford AHSN region (see below) requires a range of interlinked activities. Patients are vulnerable to harm for a number of reasons:

  • Specific failures in care processes (this is addressed by our Clinical Safety Programmes)
  • Wider systemic problems such as poor equipment design, inadequate handover and lack of standardisation of core processes – some safety issues can be resolved by new designs and technology.

We therefore need to focus both on specific clinical issues and on fundamental issues that undermine the work of staff and the care they provide to patients. Major known issues include:

  • The plethora of policies, guidelines and procedures that confuse rather than support the work of clinical staff
  • Poor reliability of basic processes in many settings – eg availability of equipment in operating theatres
  • Unnecessary and confusing variation in practice across the Oxford AHSN region – eg junior doctors’ induction
  • Inadequate processes for handover and communication at discharge.

We regard improvements to healthcare systems as fundamental to safety and a critical underpinning to programmes of work on specific clinical topics.

Our principle aims are to:

  • develop safety from its current narrow focus on hospital medicine to embrace the entire patient pathway
  • develop and sustain clinical programmes with our partners
  • develop initiatives to build safer clinical systems across the Oxford AHSN
  • collaborate and support sister safety programmes both nationally and internationally.

Ultimately we want to design and build safe systems of care.

This interactive map of the Oxford AHSN region includes NHS organisations, academic institutions, research establishments and more. It was produced by OBN.

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