Providing safe, high-quality patient care has long been a top priority of healthcare executives. But the Institute of Medicine’s 1999 report, To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System, underscored that more was needed. Providing safety requires leadership commitment, policies that support people-centred healthcare and a culture of learning and improvement.
The NHS’s Patient Safety challenger transport Strategy sets out how the organisation will continue to improve patient safety, build a culture of learning and improvement, and empower people (patients and staff) with the skills, confidence and mechanisms to make improvements themselves. Getting this right will save lives and millions of pounds in care costs each year.
Workplace safety isn’t just about keeping people free from injuries and diseases; it also involves making sure employees feel accepted, valued and respected in the workplace. Research shows that teams in which members feel psychologically safe tend to perform better than those that don’t. That’s why it’s so important to make employee well-being a core business imperative.
A safe workplace starts with a clean and healthy environment, a good return-to-work policy, and a clear set of workplace standards that everyone agrees on. It also means having clear lines of communication and a positive co-working space where employees respect each other’s boundaries. In the era of COVID19, it’s essential to have a solid remote work policy and a robust absence management solution in place.
It’s essential that leaders in all parts of an organization prioritize the safety of their team members, ensuring they follow policies that comply with federal and state laws. It’s also important that leaders promote and reinforce a culture of openness and transparency about safety issues.
In school environments, a sense of belonging among all students is an essential component to safety. Research-based strategies, such as schoolwide restorative practices, can help create a community where everyone feels supported and understood. In addition, schools should be prepared to identify and respond to bullying, grief, anger, isolation and other social-emotional needs in a timely fashion.
Food safety is important because bacteria, germs and diseases can contaminate raw foods and make people sick. The best way to prevent these contaminants is by following the proper standards and procedures for cleaning, producing, processing, cooking and storing foods. This includes sanitizing all food contact surfaces and tools, storing foods at the recommended internal temperatures and separating and washing tools that are used for raw and ready-to-eat foods.
The bottom line is that the only way to provide safe, high-quality health services is to have a strong, people-centred culture of continuous improvement. This will require clear policies, leadership capacity, data to drive improvements and skilled health care professionals. To achieve this, a culture of safety must be deeply embedded in all aspects of the health service.