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UHP Contributing to the International Safety Agenda

Photo of Dr Matt Hill

Photo of Dr Matt Hill Dr Matt Hill, Consultant Anaesthetist at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust put Plymouth on the map recently at a global conference. He presented at the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The annual event brings together healthcare experts and patients to share examples of innovation and inspire healthcare leaders and practitioners towards a better, safer and higher quality of care.

Presenting a workshop, ‘How do they do that? Using Appreciative Enquiry to Develop Safety Culture’, Dr Hill and NHS colleagues Tony Kelly, Nicola Mackintosh and Becky Wilson-Crellin, helped over 200 participants to understand the interdependence between safety culture and safety and quality improvement.

In particular, the focus was on how effective teams can improve safety culture. This includes creating space for people to come together informally, flattening hierarchies, creating psychological safety, and investing time in each other. These are all aspects observed through recent ethnographical studies.

Matt explained: “Taking an appreciative approach is about how we craft and nurture the conditions for teams to flourish. This is so important because it’s linked to how we deliver brilliant care. If teams don’t get it right, patients and the ones they love can be affected. Kindness, civility and getting team relationships right matters at every level.”

Asked what NHS staff can do to make improvements to their teams, he said: “Go and talk to someone you don’t normally talk to. Be curious about what is happening in their world. Often, we don’t talk to other people about what’s going on with them. When you listen, listen to understand and not to respond. If you can do it with coffee and cake, even better!”

Matt Hill is the National Clinical Advisor on Safety Culture to the National Safety Improvement Programmes which aim to create continuous and sustainable improvement in settings such as maternity units, emergency departments, mental health trusts, GP practices and care homes. He’s worked in patient safety, quality and culture for 15 years and supported the use of safety culture tools to positively shift team culture across acute hospitals, primary care, mental health and nursing homes.

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