In this blog, published in BMJ Opinion, Sara Turle and Andy Heeps explore how, as part of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust’s new approach to investigating serious incidents, they decided to run a weekly Patient Safety Summit meeting to review newly declared serious incidents and to identify immediate learning that could be shared within the organisation.
Ten weeks after the inception of these meetings, there was the introduction of a key missing voice—that of a patient.
Having a patient in the room changed the way serious incidents were looked at. The patient representative, Sara, asked questions and challenged answers which empowered junior members of staff to do the same. It also spurred clinical and managerial staff to think outside of their traditional professional boxes and question how the system could be improved. Sara helped broaden perspectives by always asking how the patient, or their family, could have been more involved in their healthcare.