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SIA patient safety initiative.

View profile for Kim Daniells
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The Spinal Injuries Association raised an important issue in their Forward magazine of February 2018. They point out that neurogenic bowel dysfunction has a significant impact on all aspects of an individual's life, following a spinal cord injury, particularly if it is not well managed. The SIA are increasingly aware of instances where care provision from healthcare agencies in respect of bowel management, are substandard. This can leave those with spinal cord injury at particular risk of harm.


The Spinal Injuries Association has therefore engaged in discussions with the Royal College of Nursing and NHS Improvement in an attempt to address the issue and to improve the experience of those with spinal cord injury.


It seems that these organisations recognise there is a real problem but they lack hard evidence on which to base decisions or new initiatives in respect of care.


In the circumstances NHSI have set up a patient safety alert reporting system. If a clinician, family member, friend or SCI individual becomes aware of any incident where an SCI person is put at risk due to poor bowel care then the incident can be reported via


The reporting system does not require any personally identifiable information or the name of the hospital care team.

The system is simply monitoring instances and trends that can then be addressed by the NHS and other care providers.


The SIA is doing important work in highlighting this issue. It is good to see that the NHS is responding positively with a view to improving quality of care for all.