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Improving patient safety

There are an estimated 2,000 preventable deaths each year in the UK’s hospital paediatric departments compared with the best-performing countries in Western Europe.

To address this, a new set of quality improvement tools that can be used to introduce and improve safety in hospitals has been developed by a team led by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

The toolkit has been produced as part of the final phase of the College’s flagship quality improvement programme, Situation Awareness for Everyone (S.A.F.E), and is available on the RCPCH website

The S.A.F. E. programme is being evaluated by Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. It tested different models of care in 12 hospitals, including the ‘huddle’ technique – a short exchange of information between all professionals involved in a patient’s care – in a bid to encourage information sharing and to equip professionals with the skills to spot when a child’s condition is deteriorating, as well as to prevent missed diagnoses.

Useful techniques along with informative presentations are available now at They aim to improve communication, build a safety-based culture and deliver better health outcomes for children and young people.

The resource includes information on:

  • Quality improvement
  • Patient safety culture
  • Structured communication
  • Recognising deterioration
  • The 'huddle'
  • Evaluation and spread

You can find out more about S.A.F.E on the College’s website.