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The importance of patient safety

As part of our work to improve patient safety in North West London, Imperial College Health Partners has awarded two bursaries for MSc courses in patient safety to NHS staff working in this area. These were awarded to William Gage, Improvement Programme Manager (safety) at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and Jeni  Mwebaze, Head of Quality Assurance for Central and North west London NHS foundation Trust. Read Jeni’s blog here.

Below, William talks about how the course will impact positively on his role.

I am delighted to have been awarded the bursary from ICHP to undertake the MSc in patient safety at Imperial College, London; an opportunity that I would not have been able to have without the support from ICHP and from my employers.

I have worked as a nurse in the NHS for most of my career.  Like most healthcare professionals, I chose nursing because I wanted to make a difference.  Over twenty years later, I still love nursing and am extremely proud of my profession; being able to touch peoples’ lives on a daily basis and really make a difference can be challenging at times, but is an enormous privilege.  I am absolutely committed to the principles of the NHS and believe that everyone deserves access to the best possible health care free at the point of delivery, based on clinical need.  Understanding what high quality care looks like for patients and creating the right conditions to be able to deliver it – has always been of fundamental importance and interest to me.  Healthcare systems are complex and dynamic, which means there are always incredible opportunities to be able to continuously innovate; making sure that we fully enable staff to provide excellent care for patients and their families.

I currently work in the improvement team at the Trust, helping teams to deliver continuous improvements in safety at both a service and strategic level, and I have chosen the MSc in patient safety at Imperial because it directly supports me in this work, by further strengthening my knowledge and skills in leading improvement in patient safety.

Learning from the MSc will directly impact the programmes of work that I am involved in at the Trust.  These range from improving some of the practice based constituents of patient safety (such as improving how we manage medicines or respond to deteriorating patients in hospital); to strengthening some of broader structural elements of patient safety and safety culture (such as improving how we support staff to report and learn when things go wrong, whilst better listening to and involving patients). Undertaking the MSc will help me to directly translate the latest thinking and innovation on patient safety into measurable benefits for patients and staff in North West London, and across the wider health system we connect with.