National Kitchen Table Week 2019 and other updates

National Kitchen Table Week will be from 18 March until the 24 March 2019. The week will also be a wonderful way to celebrate the ending of our work.  The team have run the Sign up to Safety campaign, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), for the last five years.  Our work was to create a shared purpose; all of us focused on helping people think and act differently about patient safety.

Our roles will be ending in March 2019 but this doesn’t mean that the work should not carry on. As you know two of our principles of the campaign were local ownership of the campaign and for you all to work on things that matter to you.  So Sign up to Safety still belongs to you to carry on the great work you have been doing so far.  To help you do this, to thank you all for joining and for working so hard to help people work safely we are going to share everything we have learnt, from how we have worked to what we have done and why and perhaps what we think people could do after we have gone.

Around 98% of the NHS in England joined the campaign and we have learnt tons. However, we don’t want to write the usual report that has a list of sweeping recommendations about how we should all make safety our top priority or how leaders need to pay attention to safety.  In our humble view that would not help particularly and let’s face it, it has been said many times before.  Instead we want to ‘do as we tell others to do’ and have a conversation.  We will produce some podcasts of us talking about our learning and back these up with links to evidence, stories and blogs.  We will focus on what has worked but also share our challenges and where we went wrong a few times.

The way we think about patient safety in healthcare needs to change. Achieving patient safety is not about short term projects to reduce individual harms it is much much more than that.  There are emerging theories (safety II), the world of behavioural insights, positivity and positive deviance, learning from excellence and addressing behaviours such as incivility.  There is also a deeper understanding developing of the learning and restorative just culture that healthcare needs.  This is a wonderful time to be working in safety.

To add to these, in our view, caring about people working in health care is the key to helping people work safely.  In fact we believe it should be the central driver to improving the safety of patient care.  How can staff work safely if they have not eaten anything for 12 hours, how can they make safe decisions when they have not had a good night’s sleep for weeks, how can they be helped to safely carry out complex tasks when they are frightened to ask for help.

We started thinking about this when we concentrated on helping people talk to each other, and provided the opportunities for people to listen to one another in a kind and respectful way via our ‘kitchen tables’. We will continue over the coming months to provide the evidence that underpins all of these ideas, some practical ideas for you address them but we also hope to stimulate a wider conversation about what we should do differently.

Caring about people working in health care is the key to helping people work safely

We would like to thank all of you for being a part of the campaign and in particular we are grateful to the Quality, CQC and Investigations Policy Team at the DHSC who have supported us throughout the last five years and importantly commissioned us for those extra two years which have made all the difference to our learning.