Hospital ‘huddles’ being brought in at Leeds facility to reduce number of preventable deaths

Leeds Children's Hospital. Picture by Tony Johnson.
Leeds Children's Hospital. Picture by Tony Johnson.
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‘Huddles’ between health staff are being introduced at Leeds Children’s Hospital in a bid to reduce avoidable deaths.

The hospital, which is part of Leeds General Infirmary, is one of eight new sites to join a £500,000 improvement project led by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Huddles, which are brief exchanges of information between clinical and non-clinical professionals involved in a patient’s care, are one of a series of quality improvement techiniques being trialled as part of the Situation Awareness for Everyone (SAFE) scheme.

The two-year programme is now in its third phase after testing at 20 hospitals nationally in a bid to clamp down on the estimated 2,000 avoidable deaths occuring in UK children’s hospitals every year.

Dr Hannah Shore, consultant neonatologist at Leeds Children’s Hospital, said: “There is a clear need to reduce avoidable error in childhood care, and so we are delighted to be welcoming this project to our hospital.

“By using methods such as the Huddle, communication between our doctors, nurses, ward staff and therapists will improve and ensure that issues will be raised before becoming a risk.”

SAFE, funded as part of the Health Foundation’s Closing the Gap in Patient Safety programme with support from WellChild and UCLPartners, aims to reduce avoidable harm to acutely sick children by 2016, improve communication between health workers, close gaps in health care and involve people in their own care.

Dr Peter Lachman, clinical lead for SAFE, said: “We hope that through the success of this programme at Leeds Children’s Hospital we will be able to roll it out wider so it not only improves the care of children, but improves the care delivered to adults in the UK and beyond.”