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National Patient Safety Agency

New data prompts falls prevention reminder to NHS organisations

June 23 2010

The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) is urging NHS organisations across England and Wales to follow guidelines aimed at reducing patient falls.


The reminder, which coincides with National Falls Awareness Week, follows new data published today that shows 283,438 slips, trips and falls reported to the NPSA between October 2008 and September 2009.


Clinicians at the NPSA say the How to guide for reducing harm from falls, produced by the NPSA and Patient Safety First campaign in 2009, should be used by NHS staff to minimise the risk of patient falls.


The guidance recommends NHS organisations to:


• Create a strategic falls prevention team;
• Set a local target for reducing harm from falls;
• Target their efforts on the times and places patients are most vulnerable to falling;
• Train and develop staff in falls prevention;
• Provide in-depth falls prevention plans for their most vulnerable patients;
• Get the basics right for all patients.


NPSA’s Head of Patient Safety (Medical Specialties) Frances Healey said: “Falls can adversely effect the recovery of patients which is why it is essential that risks are reduced as much as possible.”

Mrs Healey added: “We know the causes of falls in hospitals are complex but we continue to work with partner organisations and our NHS community to ensure that the actions most likely to reduce the risk of falls and injury are consistently and reliably implemented.


“The NHS faces a very real challenge in reducing levels of harm without compromising the dignity and independence of patients.”


For more information about the guidance, please visit http://www.patientsafetyfirst.nhs.uk



Note to editors:

1. Media enquiries to the NPSA Press Office:
Simon Morgan – 020 7927 9580 / simon.morgan@npsa.nhs.uk
Dominic Stevenson – 020 7927 9351 / dominic.stevenson@npsa.nhs.uk

Out of hours – 0788 411 5956

2. The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) is an Arm’s Length Body of the Department of Health. It encompasses three divisions; the National Research Ethics Service, Patient Safety and the National Clinical Assessment Service. The NPSA’s vision is to lead and contribute to improved, safe patient care by informing, supporting and influencing healthcare individuals and organisations. For more information visit: www.npsa.nhs.uk.

3. These data can be found at: http://www.nrls.npsa.nhs.uk/resources/patient-safety-topics/patient-accidents-falls/?entryid45=74567