Skip Navigation
Search site

We are building you a better website. You might be interested to see the new look here, and let us know what you think.

NHS Safety Thermometer records an increase in Harm Free Care

July 15, 2014: There has been an increase in the percentage of patients receiving 'Harm Free Care'2 according to data released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) today. In April 2012, when data was first recorded, 89.7 per cent of the patients surveyed received harm-free care. This figure has increased to 93.6 per cent in March 2014.

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

The NHS Safety Thermometer tool was developed by the HSCIC to support patient safety as part of a wider programme of work involving frontline NHS clinicians, improvement experts and the Department of Health. Using the data submitted by organisations from the monthly patient surveys3, the tool provides valuable data for frontline teams to monitor their performance in delivering harm free care.

The HSCIC has today released the first of a series of annual publications based on the NHS Safety Thermometer tool, this first issue covers the period April 2012 to March 2014. The tool is used to monitor and record the presence and absence of four harms4:

  • Pressure ulcers
  • Falls
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) in patients with a catheter
  • New venous thromboembolisms (VTEs)

From April 2012 to March 2014, 1,058 organisations have submitted results from over 4.4 million patient assessments across 10 care settings. These show that:

  • There has been a reduction in the number of patients recorded with each of the four harms which make up Harm Free Care: pressure ulcers, falls, urinary tract infections (UTIs) in patients with a catheter, and new venous thromboembolisms (VTEs).
  • The percentage of patients recorded with a pressure ulcer reduced from 7 per cent in April 2012 to 4.6 per cent in March 2014.
  • The percentage of patients recorded as having a fall which resulted in harm reduced from 1.3 per cent in April 2012 to 0.8 per cent in March 2014.
  • The percentage of catheterised patients recorded as having a UTI reduced from 1.6 per cent in April 2012 to 0.8 per cent in March 2014.
  • The percentage of patients recorded with a new VTE reduced from 1 per cent in April 2012 to 0.5 per cent in March 2014.

HSCIC Chair Kingsley Manning said: "The NHS Safety Thermometer covers a wide range of care settings across the NHS, from residential homes to hospital wards.

"It is encouraging to see that the percentage of patients recorded as receiving Harm Free Care has increased to nearly 94 per cent in 2014.

"As the number of providers who fill out this monthly survey increases, it is hoped that this will enable the NHS to have a more detailed picture of care provisions in order for them to monitor care and

make further improvements."

The report can be accessed at: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/thermometerrep2014 

ENDS


Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 220 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.
  2. "Harm Free Care" is the absence of all four harms: pressure ulcers, falls, urinary tract infections (UTIs) in patients with a catheter and new venous thromboembolisms (VTEs). The concept of Harm Free Care was designed to bring focus to the patient's overall experience.
  3. Participating organisations are asked each month to record data for every NHS-funded patient. Today's findings are based on data collected by care staff, who assess patients in their care settings once a month and submit these results. Submitted data is validated before it is added to the National Safety Thermometer. Invalid data is excluded, and reported in the local data quality report and in the Monthly Submission Data Quality Report. Participating organisations are responsible for correcting the errors which are identified in the data quality report, and for re-submitting their corrected data.
  4. These four harms were selected as the focus because they are common, and because there is a clinical consensus that they are largely preventable through appropriate patient care. A patient may have all, some, one, or none of the harms.
  5. The NHS Safety Thermometer is a patient level measurement tool designed to record the prevalence of harm on the day of the survey, rather than all instances of harm. The data collected includes any harm the patient has experienced but not to what that harm is attributed to.
  6. The care settings are as follows: Acute hospital wards, community, community hospital wards, hospices, mental health community, mental health wards, nursing homes, own home, residential care homes and other
  7. Percentages are rounded to the nearest decimal place.
  8. For media enquires please call 0300 303 3888 or email media@hscic.gov.uk
Close iCM Form