Risk Assessment Tools Used in National Health Services

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 5
Words: 1176
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: College

Despite the individual’s occupation, there are a number of health risk issues that a person may face. However, the risks vary from one occupation to another. This calls for further investigation to determine how human life is affected by his/her workplace. According to National Health Services (NHS), risk assessment refers to an in-depth assessment of dangers and hazards that face patients, people at workplace among others. Risk assessment requires integrated multidisciplinary involvement of all the involved parties. A good risk assessment prevents ill health and avoidable accidents at workplace. As such, accurate risk assessment functions to cushion organizations, employers and individuals from inflated costs of production resulting from ill health and accidents.

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With the NHS efforts to incorporate risk management with governance, risk assessment has become more convenient and consistent to manage. Such efforts have made it easier to compare risks at work place as operational, financial and clinical risks for prioritization reasons. The risk assessment tools that are recommended to be used across NHS should be simple to use, and able to give consistent working results whenever employed by staff from different job professions. Besides, such tools must be capable of assessing a broad range of risks that include health and safety, clinical, reputation and financial risks. The tools should also be simple to faster adaptation by NHS trusts. This, in turn, is essential in helping these trusts to meet their specific goals.

Guidance on consequence scoring is a mandatory tool for NHS in risk assessments. Consequence scoring is used to determine the extent of an event outcome or a potential outcome of the underlying risk. The scores are used to rate the severity of incidences in NHS. The document does not go into a detailed explanation of the consequence scoring but explains how the scoring system is used to score incidences. The system has quantitative and qualitative data against which consequences are assessed. The tools are characterized by objective definitions across the matrices for detailed consequence assessment and consistency in the assessment procedures. Effective and practical training is required to maximize the consistency in the usage of the consequence score test tool.

As it was found in the matrix, the first step that should be taken in risk assessment is to identify the risk and possible consequences that may arise from such a risk. Once the risk is identified and defined explicitly, score tables are used to award scores to the adverse consequences of the evaluated risks. The matrix used in NHS must demonstrate the nature, as well as the need of the activity under study. Risks are categorized according to consequences that are scored as negligible, minor, moderate, major and catastrophic.

After a potential risk is assessed and awarded a consequence score appropriately, matrix 2 (table 2) is used to identify the likelihood of the event occurring. Guidance on likelihood scoring categorizes consequences as rare, unlikely, possible, likely, and almost certain. The likelihood score is the reflection of the possibility of adverse events occurring. Frequency and probability are important considerations in the likelihood score. In summary, five steps have been identified in the process of risk assessment. The first step, as it has been discussed, is to look for and identify the risk. The second step is to check whether the hazard can harm somebody, and whom it can harm. The third step is to identify whether the precautions put in place are sufficient, or whether extra precautions are required. The fourth step is to document the observations and findings for advanced deliberations if necessary. Finally, the assessment is reviewed depending on the outcome of the risk that has been assessed.

Inter-professional team members in the NHS

A number of inter-professional teams exist within the NHS. These bodies develop conducts of practice that guide professionals in the medical and health service sector. National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) is one of such groups. It is a special health authority created within NHS to improve patients’ safety. Some of its roles include reporting for medical misconducts, conducting investigative analysis, and deliberating on preventive measures. From the year 2005, NPSA assumed another responsibility for inspecting and ensuring hospital safety in terms of designs, food, cleanliness, and research practices, among others. It also keeps checking on the conducts of doctors and other medical workers.

Other groups that are found under NPSA are; National Research Ethics Service (NRES) which ensures safe research by medical professional to lower any health risks that the patients may be subjected to; National Clinical Assessment Services (NCAS) monitors performance of doctors and dentists with a view of cushioning the patients. National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) permits NHS employees to offer voluntary information of health misconducts on conditions of anonymity. NPSA plays a major role in identifying patients’ safety shortcomings in order to provide possible solutions to the occurring problems in accordance with the health norms within the NHS. Some of initiatives, in which this organization is involved, include health risk reduction campaigns such as hand hygiene, health risk reduction through vaccination among others.

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Another inter-professional body is involved in the NHS is National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). This is a professional body that gives guidance and direction on issues related to public heath and clinical practice in the United Kingdom. This body has three centers of excellence which ensure patients safety. The Centre for Public Health Excellence is charged with the core responsibility of developing public health guidance. The body relies on research information obtained from patient treatment and diagnosis of different illness and conditions. As such, they ensure patients’ safety by revealing the information on the risks of the patients, and the public at large.

The second center is the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation. This body, through research and stipulated guidance, recommends the medicines that are used within NHS, and evaluates the safety procedures that are used with NHS. Another center is the centre for Clinical Practice which is charged with the responsibility for clinical guidance, and guidance on providing right treatment for people. This body ensures patients’ and public safety by making sure that only qualified clinicians offer clinical services to the patients. NICE and NPSA usually work together in the United Kingdom NHS in order to ensure public and patients’ safety. It becomes possible due to the professional bodies that monitor safety events associated with procedures, provide directives and solutions in case of adverse events outcomes. NICE also works with NPSA in order to ensure that any new health technology does not adversely affect patients. NPSA and NICE cooperate in sharing confidential reports that are not open to the public.

The two professional bodies within the NHS basically draw guidelines that are useful in managing the assessed risks. NPSA, for instance, monitors the risks assessment tools that are used in the NHS to ascertain whether they are simple for application, and whether they can work across all the organizations and firms that they are intended to. The bodies correct the risks assessed in health and medical fields by reporting, correcting and researching on medical errors.