Professor Maureen Baker has spent her career championing quality improvement and patient safety.
In August she joined the Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB), the body charged by NHS Digital with developing shared record standards, as its new chair to continue her passion, help cement PRSB’s role and influence within the system and “embed standards into the grain of good practice across health and care.”
The PRSB, which was established back in 2013, is to ensure that there are consistent standards for care records. Funded by NHS Digital, the aim of the organisation is to develop clinical standards for health and care records, as approved by the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges.
“PRSB is a relatively new organisation. It’s not that I think it needs to be on everyone’s list, but it would be good for people to have an understanding and awareness of what we do,” Prof. Baker said.
“In the same way that they know there’s systems that look after drugs or medical devices and equipment, that there is a body and organisation that deals with standards, so clinicians can use them most effectively.”
Prof. Baker finished a three year stint, 2013-16, in the hot seat as chair of the highly influential Royal College of GPs. A GP since the early 80s, Prof. Baker has been a long-term national leader and advocate of patient safety and informatics having held the role of clinical director for patient safety with NHS Connecting for Health (2007-2016).
“I have seen what happens when things go wrong particularly when it could have been prevented, so the opportunity to do work that makes things safer without people even thinking about it, I think that’s wonderful and what I really enjoy,” Prof. Baker said.
“I really hope to get the message over to clinical and care communities that this is important work that will make a difference to them, to the patients and hopefully they will support and then indeed use the standards we set.”
Since the PRSB established four years ago, it has gone on to set new standards in areas including e-discharge summaries, new outpatient letters, and on sharing children’s health information.
All standards are developed with patients, health and social care workers to ensure they meet clinical needs which are then adopted by professionals.
Prof. Baker said during a time when the service is already under pressure and people are struggling to meet the demands, priority is key.
“We have to accept that it can be difficult for people to get some time away to feed into this and to engage with the work that we do.”
“Trying to make sure the important work goes ahead without putting too many demands on already hard-pressed clinicians is definitely important.”
She explained that those working in a particular area who haven’t got structured record standards and trying to share information, “then you have got a route to making things better; through [PRSB].”
“It’s largely about visibility and making sure the message is something clinicians can relate to, so it’s not just jargon.”