Patient Safety and Human Factors – Everyone’s Business

1st March 2019

On 7th February 2019 the HSC Clinical Education Centre were delighted to host a multi-professional Learning Event in the Craigavon Civic Centre on ‘Patient Safety and Human Factors: Everyone’s business’. The event aimed to promote shared learning in Patient Safety and Human Factors and was organised by CEC’s Adult Acute Specialist Interest Group, led by Anne-Marie Phillips, Senior Education Manager. The day was a huge success in highlighting the importance of Human Factors in healthcare and how it can impact on Patient Safety.

The day started off with an opening address by Dr Dawn Benson, National Investigator in Healthcare, Safety Investigation, Lecturer and Researcher HSIB & University of Oxford on The importance of Human Factors in Healthcare and the Patient Safety Agenda. Dawn’s excellent presentation proved very stimulating and thought provoking.

Following this Mr Ian Walsh Clinical Academic, Queens University, Belfast, and Urological Surgeon, BHSCT presented a superb presentation on Human Factors. Mr Walsh described a conceptual framework that embraces all the aspects of Human Factors such as Cognition, Higher Order Functioning, Technical Skills, Ergonomics, Organisational Issues and Behavioural Skills.

Dr Dawn Benson also shared her very personal story about the birth of her son and how healthcare professionals failed to recognise his deterioration which has now left him with a life-long disability. Dawn received a standing ovation on the day and people were clearly moved and touched by her story.

After lunch, Capt. Niall Downey (FRCSI & Managing Director Framework Health, Error Management Training) provided insight into how aviation manages error and how healthcare can apply certain principles of airline safety to patients, in the same way the aviation industry does for its passengers.

A panel discussion took place on ‘What are the next steps for implementing education on Human Factors across Health and Social Care? The panel members were Professor Charlotte McArdle, Chief Nursing Officer, Department of Health, Dr Mike Morrow MEd FRCA NIMDTA Simulation Lead, and Capt. Niall Downey. Members of the audience were able to pose questions as to the next steps to implementing Human Factors into N. Ireland healthcare as well as any other questions they had in relation to the day’s presentations.

The day came to an end with Dr Dawn Benson introducing the audience to the Safety Culture discussion cards published by NHS Education for Scotland (NES). The cards are designed to open up discussion and get participants to think and talk about safety culture.

To date participant evaluations have been overwhelmingly positive. The success of the day has led to several enquiries about future CEC events in Human Factors. A fantastic day was had by all.