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Chapter members attend the 1000 Lives Plus learning event

Members of the 1000 Lives Plus Student Chapter recently attended the National Learning Event in June 2011. They heard the developments within 1000 Lives Plus including presentations from health boards and trusts around Wales. Key speakers included David Sissling, the new Chief Executive of NHS Wales, and Clare Bowen who shared the tragic story of her daughter’s death during surgery.
Here are some of their thoughts from the day...
Sadie Young, Nursing Student “I had not attended a 1000 Lives Plus event before and so, I approached the National Learning Event  nervously, not sure of what to expect.
When I first arrived at the Swalec Stadium I felt like a fish out of water, I am a first year Nursing student and I was surrounded by 300 of the most influential people within Welsh healthcare; directors, executives, AMs. I was both thrilled to be in this position, seeing how the themes of 1000 Lives Plus are initiated and evaluated at the top, but would be delighted to see more representation from the frontline.
Throughout the day one thing became apparent; every person was there because they believe that by using the tools promoted by 1000 Lives Plus they are able to improve the care given to our patients. It was that simple, and the enthusiasm and warmth exhibited by those present was infectious.
One day, several presentations, a session with fellow Student Chapter members and a very good lunch later, and I am more optimistic than ever that we can make a difference; we can improve healthcare. I came away from the event with a renewed sense of responsibility to develop and progress as an individual, and to assist others to recognise the potential that 1000 Lives Plus has regarding healthcare improvement and patient safety.
Most importantly, I feel that I am part of something big, something exciting, a development programme that really has the potential to make a positive difference to healthcare provision to our patients. And that, surely, is the most important thing any one of us within the field can hope to achieve".
Ben Cosway, Medical Student “With 1 in 10 patients acutely admitted to hospital suffering harm and 7% of these subsequently dying as a direct result of the care that they receive, patient safety is a hot topic here in Wales. 
On the 10th of June, healthcare leaders from all over the country gathered to share their successes in improving the lives of their patients. From increasing the use of venous thromboprohylaxis to decreasing the number of falls, healthcare professionals in Wales are truly leading the way in healthcare improvement.
However, the event wasn't only about celebrating our successes. It was about identifying opportunities for change. We heard the heartbreaking story of a how a family was torn apart after a series of errors led to the untimely death of their child during surgery. But rather than admitting their mistakes, the hospital gave only vague and incomplete details about what had happened simply adding to the family's unimaginable suffering. Yet we know that being open about errors is beneficial for all parties; not only does it give the family and healthcare professionals the chance to come to terms with what has occurred but it offers the opportunity to put systems in place to prevent it happening again. Furthermore, good communication following mistakes has even decreased litigation in some hospitals making transparency a real no-brainer!
Events such as this really demonstrate that we are on the brink of a healthcare improvement revolution right here in Wales. People just like you and me from all over the country are breaking ground in the quest to improve the care of those who entrust us with their lives".
Kate Moores, Physiotherapy Student “Build rapport with you patients: this was the overwhelming message which I took away from the National Learning Session, held on Friday 10th June in Cardiff by the 1000 Lives Plus Programme team.
The final session of the day centred around patient stories and how to deal with things when something goes wrong, and had a huge focus on the importance of communication skills within the medical profession, but also the importance of support, both for the family affected, and the staff involved. No one goes to work to harm their patients, so if it happens it is important that support is given to all those involved, that questions are answered, that everyone is given time to work through the rollercoaster of emotions involved in that situation. We heard a relatively positive experience from a neurosurgeon at Morriston Hospital, to the devastating story from a young girl’s mother who tragically died during surgery.
Throughout the day it was really interesting to see examples of good work going on throughout Wales. Either through the storyboards displayed throughout the day, or through the presentations given by the medical directors, it was interesting looking at different boards and trusts are looking at the same work streams for improvement, but due to local circumstances every trust needed to approach things in a different manner, much like the challenges which the Wales Student Chapter are facing trying to spread the message of students as improvers throughout Wales.
Over lunch the students who were attending the Learning Session met up to discuss the future plans for the Chapter. It was lively, interesting and exciting discussion which looked at where the Chapter had come from and where it was going. With some interesting events and opportunities coming up, this is the ideal time to get involved with the Chapter, to increase your own understanding of issues of quality and safety within NHS Wales, while improving your own CV and making friends".

Last updated: 08/08/2011