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Pressure ulcers


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There are an estimated 180,000 newly acquired pressure ulcers developing each year in the NHS (NHS Safety Thermometer 2012) and in 2011 the  National Reporting and Learning System in 2011  received 91,810 pressure ulcer related patient safety incident reports, making  pressure ulcer prevention one of the biggest patient safety challenges facing the NHS (ref Patient Safety First)

Evidence indicates that the majority of pressure ulcers are preventable  and could be avoided through simple actions by staff, patients and carers. As well as causing long term pain and distress for patients, treatment is estimated to cost the NHS between £1.4 and £2.1 billion per year (Bennett et al). There is a good strong evidence base on how to prevent pressure ulcers from developing. There is a greater need to share and heed this evidence base and take action if we are to reduce the incidence of this avoidable harm.

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Avoidable pressure ulcers are a key indicator of the quality of nursing care. Preventing them happening will improve all care for vulnerable patients. The 'Stop the Pressure' campaign was launched by NHS Midlands and East as part of their ambition to make life better for patients. The campaign is now being rolled out nationally, with NHS England, NHS Improving Quality and Haelo joining forces with other partners to support a 50% reduction in pressure ulcer prevalence throughout winter 2013/14.

The Stop the pressure campaign has seen nursing students from universities across the country hosting their own stop the pressure conferences with the aim of educating motivating our future nursing population with students to pledging to make a difference around this important topic.

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