Review: ‘Safety in Numbers’ NHS Safety Thermometer summit

The ‘Safety in Numbers’ NHS Safety Thermometer summit took place in London on Thursday 23 October with  200 delegates from 100 organisations taking part in the day. The event was a great success with Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt launching the Patient Safety Briefing, the ‘next generation’ NHS Safety Thermometers being released and the work done so far with the ‘classic’ NHS Safety Thermometer being celebrated. 

All the day’s presentations are in the Prezi below 


Prof Maxine Power, National Lead for Safety Thermometer Development, opened the day and chaired the event. She showed the audience the progress of the Safety Thermometer since 2010, what we’ve learned from it and the publications it has brought about. The ‘Harmfree’ care website has been viewed in 147 countries with serious interest in a number of those for producing their own Safety Thermometer.

Ruth May, Director of Nursing NHS England Midlands & East, and student nurse Charlotte Johnston then discussed how to ignite large scale change focusing on the Stop the Pressure pressure ulcer reduction campaign. The duo focussed on the four key strands of the campaign:

  • knowing the size of the problem
  • measuring improvement
  • standardising approaches
  • engagement and support

Kate Cheema, Specialist Information Analyst, Quality Observatory and Mr Dave Shackley, Clinical Director Urology, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, led the next session on learning from the ‘Classic’ NHS Safety Thermometer data. They showed delegates how to use data to find areas to improve and how to tell a story using date. The team had delegates working together to discuss how they had used the data in their own Trusts. 

Using Safety Thermometer data, Mr Shackley showed delegates what his Trust, Salford Royal, was doing with regards catheters and UTIs as well as the national picture.  

NHS England North Director of Nursing, Gill Harris, addressed the room about open and honest care and how to drive improvement in the NHS. Gill explained what was happening in the North of England and across the rest of the country and where patient safety data is now shared and how Trusts and organisations are joining the Sign up to Safety campaign.

Dr Mike Durkin, National Domain Director of Patient Safety, NHS England, then took to the stage to present on the importance of individuals collecting harm data to better understand and issues and target improvement.

Patient Safety Briefing launch

The new Patient Safety Briefing was launched by RT Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, who said the briefing “will give patients more confidence and let them know what to expect during their stay in hospital.” The Patient Safety Briefing is available for all NHS Trusts in England to use when inpatients arrive at hospital to help ensure their stay is as safe and comfortable as possible. The Patient Safety Briefing is free for all NHS organisations to use and the ‘Harmfree’ care team has put together a few ideas about how Trusts can implement locally.

Jeremy Hunt was then involved in a Q&A panel with Sir David Dalton, Chief Executive, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, and Prof Eileen Sills CBE, Chief Nurse and Director of Patient Experience, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Chaired by Prof Maxine Power, the panel were asked questions from the delegates including the importance of safe staffing numbers in wards and departments to ensure patient safety and how in the wake of the Francis and Berwick reports, the NHS needs to hear more positive news. Staff at those organisation who have come out of special measures felt proud they’ve been able to help turnaround organisations. 

‘Next generation’ of NHS Safety Thermometers 

The afternoon focused heavily on the ‘next generation’ of NHS Safety Thermometers with breakout sessions for:

  • Maternity
  • Mental Health
  • Medication Safety
  • Children and Young People

Two films below were shown at the beginning of the sessions to highlight the work the ‘next generation’ NHS Safety Thermometers are helping organisations to do.



Mental Health


After the films had been shown the session showed the how teams from Kent Community Health NHS Trust, North East London NHS Foundation Trust and Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust have used the Safety Thermometer to improve services for patients. The key themes that emerged from the three teams were:

  • communication
  • team work
  • use the data to target improvement

Sir David Dalton closed the day with a celebration of the huge scale and success of the Safety Thermometer to date. Sir David said that “there are four key things for harmfree care: leadership, capability building, measurement, and improvement programmes”. He singled out Prof Charles Vincent’s the Measurement and Monitoring of Safety report as a key read for the audience and finished with an update of the Sign up to Safety campaign.