At the Cheltenham Literary Festival last weekend I was very lucky to meet Matthew Syed, a Journalist and Author who has written a fascinating book called “Black Box Thinking”. He talked about how some of the most innovative and pioneering organisations in the world have one thing in common, and that is how they react to failure, learn from their mistakes and as a result become more successful.
Of particular interest to me was how he related this to healthcare. In his words “…..hundreds of thousands of patients die from preventable medical errors every year due to a chronic lack of Black Box Thinking”. He adds “Failure shouldn’t be shameful or stigmatising, but exciting and enlightening”.
When I left nursing in 2007 to focus on supporting clinical negligence solicitors I felt almost like I was leaving to work for the “enemy”. This was very difficult for me as I am a passionate believer in the NHS and am certain that most people when caring for patients do their best in what can be very challenging situations. However, as we all know, things can and often do go wrong and I soon realised the importance of investigating these cases properly in order to identify and learn from any mistakes. It is only by doing this that avoidable harm is reduced and patient safety is improved.
This is, for me, what it is all about so let’s all work together to give injured clients/patients the very best outcome.