Healthcare workers are being targeted by organisers of a pioneering new course which aims to help curb the numbers of patients coming to harm during medical treatment.
Each year around one in 10 patients in acute hospitals in
suffer what is known as an adverse event which is an incident that can result
in injury and, in worse cases, disability and death.
Almost half of these events - which could be caused by
mistakes in prescribing medicine, errors in identifying patients, hospital
acquired infections, hospital falls, radiation dose errors and surgical complications
- are preventable. Around 8% of adverse events contribute to a patients' death.
Improving the safety of patients is one of the major
challenges for hospital bosses and Governments across Britain and
Now the University
of Aberdeen - which is already a
centre of excellence for its work in patient safety - has launched Scotland's
first postgraduate degree course which meets that remit.
The new MSc in Patient Safety – a Clinical Human Factors
Approach is aimed at all kinds of health professionals and medical
practitioners such as nurses, hospital doctors, GPs, anaesthetists, managers, radiographers
The two year part time course – which students complete
during block release so that it fits around their current job – will cover a
wide range of areas which include methods of studying patient safety, errors
and adverse events and an examination of the limitations of human performance.
Teaching will be delivered by academics who form part of the
University of Aberdeen's internationally renowned
Patient Safety Research Group which is investigating many issues including team
work in intensive care units, clinical leadership, the safe and effective
supply of medicines and the early recognition of critical illness.
Students will also learn from the University's researchers
about safety management of other high risk work sectors such as aviation,
nuclear power and the offshore industry.
Professor Rhona Flin, who heads the University of Aberdeen's
Patient Safety Research Group and the Scottish Patient Safety Research Network,
said: "The University of Aberdeen's new MSc in Patient Safety is the first
degree of its kind in Scotland and reflects not only the University's expertise
in this subject but also the current drive across Scotland to enhance
professional skills for the delivery of safe treatment in our healthcare system."
Dr Steven Yule, a psychology lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, added: "There is currently no
formal training for clinicians in the human and system causes of error and
adverse events. The MSc in Patient Safety has been specifically developed for
healthcare professionals to study as they are working in a way that will
enhance both their knowledge and career."
The new MSc has been welcomed by world renowned neurosurgeon
Professor Sir Graham Teasdale, Chair of NHS Quality Improvement Scotland and
past President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Glasgow.
He said: "Increasing the safety of care and quality of care
is a priority for all involved in looking after patients. It is the focus of a
major effort throughout Scotland
and this course is a welcome addition to the range of initiatives supporting
the Scottish Patient Safety Programme."
For more information about the course see: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/mscpatientsafety
more information on patient safety research at the University of Aberdeen