Offering the latest news in health care quality and safety, the ISQua blog also features guest posts from the best and brightest in the industry.

Picture the scene in full PPE, with limited opportunity to rest and reflect, how do we all learn and change in response the patients’ needs and the new environment when caring for Covid19 positive patients.  Within, NHSScotland we are testing a system where change and improvement is actioned at every opportunity from the bedside to the board. In this blog I will share how that these processes are designed and driven by the front line.

Published in COVID-19 Blogs

Join us on Wednesday, May 6th 2020, 14:00 UTC+1 to to hear from renowned quality and safety expert, Dr Tejal Gandhi, who will present a live webinar on Safety and Reliability During the COVID-19 Crisis.

Published in COVID-19

We were delighted that Pascale Carayon PhD and Shawna J Perry MD, FACEP could join us for a webinar on Human Factors and SEIPS 

Published in COVID-19 Recordings

We were delighted to have Dr Jamie M. Lachman, Research Associate at the University of Oxford, Department of Social Policy and Intervention, and Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow, MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, join us for a webinar to talk about Parenting for Lifelong Health.


Published in COVID-19 Recordings

Friday, 1st May 2020, 18:00 UTC+1 - Join us for a live webinar with Dr Samir Sinah and Dr Warren Wong. 

Published in COVID-19

We were delighted to have Chris Power, CEO of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute join us for a webinar on healthcare worker safety during global pandemics 

Published in COVID-19 Recordings

This short document focuses on the response of health services and facilities to the expected spread of COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa. These countries face a real threat of health systems becoming overwhelmed, with dramatic increase in deaths from the outbreak and indirect deaths from vaccine-preventable and treatable conditions.


The document draws on new WHO guidelines and seeks to assist decision makers by highlighting urgent and priority actions. The key messages reflect views of expert health professionals responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland and Europe and with wide experience of health systems and managing epidemics in Africa.


Key WHO Guidance documents for health services response to COVID-19


  1. Operational considerations for case management of COVID-19 in health facility and community
  2. Operational guidance for maintaining essential health services during an outbreak 
  3. Infection prevention and control during health care when COVID-19 is expected 
  4. Hospital readiness checklist for COVID-19 
  5. Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) when COVID-19 disease is suspected 


Implementing a health service response to COVID-19 is just part of the wider national response to control the epidemic which involves a whole of government approach. The population measures are of utmost importance, including social/physical distancing measures, good hygiene practices and reducing transmission though testing and contacting tracing, where feasible.


Countries need to factor in the wider social and economic consequences of restrictive measures that affect people’s ability to move around and work. Public messaging should reach the whole population, emphasising hand washing, respiratory hygiene, physical distancing and the need to self-isolate if symptoms develop.


KEY MESSAGES for Health Service readiness and response


1. Health facility readiness

a) There are three objectives: to manage COVID-19 patients; to maintain essential health services; and to protect the welfare of health care workers.

b) All health facilities should assess their response capacity and establish a plan to deal with a surge of severely ill patients.

c) Consider how to mobilise additional staff for surge capacity

d) Have clear plans for infection prevention and control (IPC) including WaSH facilities, environmental cleaning & disinfection.

e) Communicate plans and actions widely, including signage and posters.


2. Segregation of COVID-19 patients

a) Separating COVID-19 patients from others is key. The ideal approach is to stream hospitals such that entire facilities are dedicated to COVID-19 (e.g. field hospitals); or else dedicate COVID-19 treatment areas within hospitals.

b) Establish effective patient flow at facilities including screening, triage and targeted referral of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cases.

c) Reduce transmission by isolating cases from other patients (or at least cohorting), and minimise the number of staff caring for each patient.


3. Care of COVID-19 patients

a) Initiate IPC at point of entry to hospital. Immediately screen and isolate COVID-10 suspects from other patients. If illness is mild, immediately discharge for self-isolation at home.

b) Assess whether patients will benefit from admission or transfer from other facilities. Consider not admitting patients with respiratory failure if the hospital is not equipped. This is equally efficacious, more humane for the patient, and reduces the risk of spread of infection to staff and other patients.

c) Establish guidance for handling deceased patients.

d) Minimise presence of visitors and non-essential staff.


4. Infection prevention and control (IPC)

a) The greatest risk of spread is by contact. Pay strict attention to hand hygiene, washing, respiratory etiquette and distancing measures. All staff should know about IPC and meticulously follow the WHO’s “5 Moments for Hand Hygiene”.

b) Ensure facilities have supplies of soap and running water.

c) Explore whether local ethanol producers (e.g. distilleries) could repurpose their facilities to make alcohol hand rubs following WHO formula.d. Manage supply and use of scarce PPE. Gloves, aprons and surgical masks mostly suffice. Don’t over-focus on PPE as adherence to other IPC measures mitigates most of the risk. Do not use PPE unless staff know how to use it properly, including putting on and taking off.


5. Maintain essential health services

a) Identify essential services to be prioritised for continuity (more people died from malaria than Ebola in west Africa in 2014).

b) Redistribute health workforce capacity to support ongoing services.c. Maintain availability of essential medicines, equipment and supplies.


 Author: Dr David Weakliam, Global Health Programme Director, Health Service Executive


Originally published 30 March 2020 for the HSE National Quality Improvement Team. Republished with permission from the author.

Published in COVID-19 Blogs

During the covid-19 pandemic, reports of new daily cases and deaths have dominated the headlines. In areas hardest hit by the virus, citizens and their leaders anxiously await the latest daily figure. If the number of deaths increases from the prior day, the result is despair or panic; if the number of deaths decreases, the result is optimistic hope that the tide is turning.

Published in COVID-19 Resources

Tuesday, 28 April 2020 12:00 UTC+1 - join our live webinar with Dr Jamie M. Lachman, Research Associate at the University of Oxford Department of Social Policy and Intervention and Research

Published in COVID-19

We were delighted to have world leading experts in improvement and change implementation, Rocco Perla and Lloyd Provost, join us for a webinar to discuss how we can use improvement science and data to better understand and manage the COVID-19 crisis.

Published in COVID-19 Recordings
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