The MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, Andrew Jones, has taken up the cause of patient safety following a visit to Harrogate District Hospital’s operating theatres with the Association for Perioperative Practice (AfPP).
AfPP – a Harrogate based charity which campaigns for patient safety and provides education and support to its theatre staff members – organised the visit so that Jones could experience first hand the crucial role of nurses and the wider perioperative team in patient care.
Mr Jones listened to their concerns and was very impressed in particular by their specialist skills, their dedication and teamwork and the effectiveness of their communication.
Theatre manager Steven Burns organised a tour of all areas of the theatre environment, explaining the implementation of the Surgical Safety Checklist and the department’s work to ensure efficient use of the theatres through specialised IT systems.
The tour included a full overview of the environment from initial pre-operative assessment, via a working theatre, through to recovery and handover back to the wards.
Andrew Jones has now put his backing behind AfPP’s drive to give frontline medical staff more time to pursue the educational activity that is essential to their CPD (Continuing Professional Development) – and ultimately in underpinning the highest safety standards in practice.
He explained: “The visit was a real eye-opener. I expected the staff to be impressive and they were, but I didn’t realise the scale of preparation for an operation in order to care for the patient properly throughout the process. Having a skilled workforce is critical to safe, effective and efficient care.
“Too often issues are overlooked simply because not enough people are aware of them. I can now take the issues of funding and time release for CPD and speak directly to the decision-makers. I want to enable direct conversations between AfPP members and the Government; in the meantime I have written to Andrew Lansley MP, the Secretary of State for Health, asking him to look at how these issues can be better handled.”
Dawn Stott, AfPP’s Managing Director, added: “I would like to thank the hospital for facilitating this visit which was an invaluable opportunity for Mr Jones to see AfPP members at work, and help him to understand the concerns of frontline theatre personnel relating to the Health White Paper and changes within the NHS.
“My own discussions with the theatre team demonstrated just how much they value AfPP’s training and publications to support their professional development, and I am delighted that Andrew Jones has embraced this very important cause. It is vital that theatre staff have ongoing access to CPD and Cllr Jones’ active support will enhance AfPP’s efforts in promoting patient safety both locally and across the UK.”
Steve Burns, Theatre Manager at Harrogate District Hospital, said: “Carrying out an operation is a large and complicated task, requiring a great deal of preparation and training by everyone involved. Our first priority is patient safety and we were delighted to have the opportunity to show our MP around the facilities we have here at the hospital and to explain some of the procedures we use to ensure operations take place safely and efficiently.”