Institute of Health & Society

Project Items

Supporting Patients and Healthcare Staff to Improve Patient Safety: Developing an Implementation Package for ThinkSAFE



Improving patient safety is a worldwide imperative.  Internationally it is estimated that around 5% of hospital patients experience avoidable harm by the care they receive.  In the UK, active involvement of patients/families for safer healthcare is a key recommendation of the Francis, Keogh and Berwick reports.    Both staff and patients recognise patient safety benefits from having patients routinely involved in their care. However our research has shown that pushing improvement through patients, though well intentioned, may inadvertently create tensions in the patient-provider relationship, leading to reciprocal erosion of trust, and counterproductive staff and patient behaviours.  Both staff and patients need support to enable patient involvement. 'Seeing it from both sides' Plos One 


Within a NIHR-funded research programme, we worked extensively with patients, relatives and healthcare staff to develop ‘ThinkSAFE’, a user-informed approach to supporting patient and family involvement in improving in-patient safety.  ThinkSAFE is further underpinned by research evidence and behavior change theory.  The approach comprises four interlinked components: a patient safety video; a patient-held Logbook containing a number of tools to facilitate patient/professional interactions and the sharing of information; ‘Talk Time’ – dedicated time to discuss queries and concerns with staff; and a training session for staff.  

Improving Patient Safety through the Involvement of Patients

Project aim

We have now received funding from the Academic Health Science Network North East & North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) to develop an implementation package that will support rapid, effective dissemination and implementation of ThinkSAFE across the North East region.The project is embedded within the newly established NENC Patient Safety Collaborative.  The implementation package will include a detailed user-guide and implementation toolkit.  This, and the ThinkSAFE materials, will then be made freely accessible to NHS Trusts and patients via a dedicated website.   Front-line healthcare staff and service-users from four regional NHS Trusts will be involved in the co-design and development of the implementation package, the ThinkSAFE resource website with an on-line forum to support and sustain implementation.  As part of the development process the implementation package and implementation support process will be rolled out and tested within four collaborating NHS Trusts.  

Advisory Group support is provided by: Professors Pauline Pearson and Kath McCourt, University of Northumbria at Newcastle; Judith Hunter, Head of Nursing and Patient Safety, CHST; Annie Laverty, Director of Patient Experience, NHCT; Yasmin Khan, Patient Safety Lead, NHSE CNTW Area Team; Dr Frances Healy, Senior Head of Patient Safety Intelligence, NHSE; Professor Charles Vincent, Oxford University; Peter Walsh and Dr Angela Brown, Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA); Mr Dave Green, ThinkSAFE PPI representative; Dr Mike Casselden, ThinkSAFE PPI representative and WHO Patient Safety Champion