The first responsibility of any provider is to ensure the safety of its service users, relatives, staff and any other stakeholders who may visit the service. Safety is primarily the responsibility of the service management and its staff team. Bearing in mind the vulnerable nature of people who use health and social care services, their safety is absolutely paramount. Furthermore, it is worth remembering that most, if not all, of the high profile scandals involving care homes, hospitals and other types of service have been centred around questions of safety.
Exercise: what does a ‘safe’ service look like?
Before going any further I would like you to list six key characteristics of what you think would be a ‘safe’ service. Remember, as with all these exercises, there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers, but it is important to reflect upon why you chose these particular characteristics. It would also be helpful, as we will be coming back to this shortly, to start thinking about how you would provide evidence for these particular characteristics.
I would then like you to think about whether you can say, in all honesty, whether these characteristics apply to your particular service or services. In other words, can you really say, hand on heart, that yours is a safe service? If not, what is the one thing that you could do to make it safer?