8. Protects and improves the safety of service users
Everyone balances safety and risk all the time as part of daily life. When people are accessing health and social care services there are often complicated questions of how to make sure they are as safe as they should be, whilst also enabling them to choose to take risks in order to live the life they want.
Often there will be no right answer to questions around balancing risk and the best decisions will be made through respectful discussion between individuals (and often their families or carers) and those who provide and deliver care and support services. These discussions must support people to understand and take responsibility for risk for themselves, whilst also recognising that health and social care professionals and organisations have duties of care that they must meet. Open debate can result in creative, shared solutions to manage risk and improve safety.
There may be specific occasions where organisations are legally obliged to take action to provide protection but this should be done within a principle of least restriction.
Everyone should expect the care and support they access to be safe every single time they come into contact with services. People should feel confident that organisations are making the best decisions to ensure the delivery of the service itself does not compromise safety, for example on issues such as how hospitals are cleaned, how workers are trained, or whether staff are ready to respond quickly in a crisis.
Listening to people who use services and to staff is an important way to make sure services are safe. Everyone must know how to raise concerns about safety, and be assured that these concerns will be listened to and acted upon swiftly.
Email: Frances Conlan
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