Mental Health

In a nutshell: We are working with mental health teams in two local Trusts who are applying the practice of safety huddles to reduce the incidence of seclusion, violent and aggressive incidents, self-harm and absconsion.

The Challenge

Each year, over a million people receive care from specialist mental health services, approximately 160,000 patients need admission to hospital (NRLS 2016). During these admissions over 100,000 patient safety incidents are reported to the National Reporting and Learning System every year (NRLS 2008).

With mental illness there is a huge effect on life expectancy with patients on average living 20 years less. We know that mental health service users, especially when acutely ill, are vulnerable to a number of potential risks. Often these risks are related to their own behaviour or to the behaviour of other patients (such as self-harm, aggression and violence, and sexually disinhibited behaviour), or are a direct result of their mental illness. Others relate to safety risks from their care or treatment, such as:

  • Use of seclusion
  • Use of restraint
  • Self -harming behaviour
  • Suicide
  • Absconding

In addition many of the patient safety issues that exist within physical health care environments apply equally within mental health settings such as, medication safety and slips, trips and falls.

What are we doing about it?

The improvement academy is working with 2 mental health Trusts (Bradford District Care Foundation Trust and Leeds York Partnership Foundation Trust) testing use of Safety Huddles to support improvement in mental health settings.

The following case studies illustrate how improvement was achieved for both:

Reducing Seclusion and Violent and Aggressive Incidents

Our Future Plans

Our plans are to share this work more widely by holding a roundtable event to allow staff to learn more about the work first hand and to start to develop plans of their own and to improve networking opportunities for staff working in mental health settings.

If you would like more information around the work we are doing in mental health please contact: Lyndsey Charles.


ABC for Patient Safety Toolkit

Following a hugely successful programme of work using behaviour change theory to support the implementation of patient safety guidelines and alerts, the Improvement Academy has taken the lead in spreading this learning throughout the region.