Cross border patient safety training programme: making a difference

Cross border patient safety training programme: making a difference

An event in Armagh to mark the completion of a patient safety training programme outlined how this unique cross-border project is benefitting patients in local hospitals and health facilities.

The patient safety programme is collaboration between the HSC Safety Forum, part of the Public Health Agency (PHA) in Northern Ireland, the Health Service Executive Quality and Safety Directorate and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. Funding for this initiative has been provided by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme secured by Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT), the cross-border health services partnership.

The 25 participants in the programme are senior medical, nursing, allied health professional and managerial staff and from the HSE areas of Sligo, Cavan and Drogheda and from the Western and Southern Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland.

For the past six months, the participants from hospitals and services on both sides of the border have been focusing on developing and implementing practical initiatives to improve the safety and quality of services delivered in local health facilities. Some innovative ideas have been taken forward across a range of services including the treatment of patients with chronic lung disease, the timely administration of “clot busting” drugs for stroke patients and post operative pain management.

Opening the event Dr Gavin Lavery commented "The potential benefit for patients from these projects is staggering - and it has been achieved in less than 6 months. If we could harness the abilities of the whole workforce in a similar way, our healthcare systems would be improved beyond recognition." 

Speaking at the event, Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said: “The participants of this programme should be congratulated.  The role they undertake is particularly important at this time of change in our health services.  The changes envisaged both locally and globally place clinicians at the forefront - not only in delivering services, but in shaping their delivery to ensure they remain of high quality, cost effective and evidence based. Health services and clinical practice must always be changing and improving. As professionals it is our role to be the catalyst for that change and improvement, our responsibility to ensure that the needs and quality of care of patients remains the primary consideration."

Dr Philip Crowley National Director of Quality and Patient Safety in the HSE said "This has been a tremendous example of constructive north south learning supported by CAWT.  The quality of the project work that has been stimulated buy this training programme is testament to the quality of the programme and most importantly to the innovative potential that our front line staff can demonstrate when given the chance"

Speaking on behalf of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, CEO Leo Kearns said RCPI were delighted to be part of such a unique and important endeavor. It is clear based on the enthusiasm of the participants and the outstanding results achieved in improving patient safety across a wide number of settings, there is an appetite for future similar programmes. It is incumbent upon all healthcare professionals and organisations to examine innovative ways of training and delivering services that will improve outcomes for our patients, and CAWT are to be commended for their vision in funding such an innovative programme. We would like to express our gratitude to our partners, the HSC Safety Forum and HSE Quality and Patient Safety Directorate.

Notes to the editor
  1. CAWT is a cross border health and social care partnership comprising the border counties of the Health Service Executive (HSE) in the Republic of Ireland and the Southern and Western Health and Social Care Trusts, the Health and Social care Board and the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland. CAWT is managing a range of cross border health and social care programmes, part financed by the European Union's European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVA cross-border Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.
  2. The CAWT ‘Cross Border Patient Safety Programme’ project part of CAWT’s ‘Putting Patients, Clients and Families First’ initiative funded by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme.