Our innovative model of family engagement has been nominated in the ‘best emerging solution for patient safety’ category at the 2019 HSJ Patient Safety Awards. 

HSIB’s submission focused on how we have taken a family liaison approach used by the police in serious crime investigations and adapted it for healthcare investigations. Lou Pye, our Head of Family Engagement, has 30 years experience, specialising in family liaison work for the police. 

Developing HSIB’s approach 

Lou says: “We developed a model for HSIB based on that which has been in existence for some time now within the police service. This model ensures that we include families in the investigations and are able to use their accounts as part of the evidence. Doing this ensures we enrich the investigation and that all perspectives are taken into account. It is also important that patients and families feel respected and involved. Our methodology includes mechanisms for suggesting ongoing support for families and also for helping investigators cope with the pressures of their role. 

“Being shortlisted for this award is fantastic and shows how much HSIB has already achieved in family engagement. There is a lot more planned for the future, and I hope that what we have done can inform others working across healthcare.” 

Understanding and learning  

We have been working with Skills for Health to develop a role profile based on identified national occupational standards. This will inform a training programme for HSIB investigators based on a framework of specific competencies. This will in time be available for incident investigators across the NHS. 

Dr Kevin Stewart, HSIB Medical Director, said: “We know that families and patients often feel excluded from serious incident investigations and don’t feel listened to. This compounds the emotional trauma that they have already suffered. In the past, despite good intentions and various legal and professional initiatives, progress in this area has been slow. Part of the rationale for establishing HSIB was to change this, so we have looked outside of healthcare, to the police, for ideas on how we might do this. The way the police have been working for years seems to give us an effective basis from which we could develop our model. 

“Lou has worked tirelessly to implement this and engaged with investigators constantly across both our national and maternity investigation teams. Feedback from families so far has been overwhelmingly positive and this nomination is a fantastic endorsement of the work that we do and highlights our commitment to improving patient safety through high quality investigations.” 

HSJ Patient Safety Awards

The winner will be announced at the HSJ Patient Safety Awards on Tuesday 2 July 2019 in Manchester.