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Patient Safety Awards 2012

Over 400 entries across 10 Categories were submitted for the Patient Safety Awards in 2012 and "Developing an early alert system for metastatic spinal cord compression" was one of only six projects shortlisted under "Patient Safety in Diagnosis".

Back pain is a very common condition. One in every 7500 back pain patients will have Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression (MSCC). Although the proportion of back pain sufferers presenting with serious spinal diseases is small, a delay in diagnosis of MSCC can have serious consequences. It can result in prolonged, stubborn pain and suffering, complications such as paraplegia and double incontinence, a low quality of life and reduced survival rate.

Teamwork between Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, Greater Manchester and Cheshire Cancer Network, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and UCLan has resulted in the first alert system for metastatic spinal cord compression. This partnership working resulted in the production of a comprehensive list of eight – specific Red Flags, targeted towards improving patient’s survival rate and cord-status, printed in a handy credit-card sized format to facilitate clinical access.

Other dissemination of this work may be found at:

  • 2010 Greater Manchester and Cheshire Cancer network funded the printing of 9000 cards and distributed them to every GP in the network, all physiotherapy and occupational therapy departments, walk-in centres, A&E departments and GP out of hours services in the North West.
  • 2011 NHS 24 (Scotland) funded the printing of 100,000 cards for distribution throughout Scotland.
  • 2011 News articles in national physiotherapy magazine Frontline and National Cancer Action News.
  • 2011 Commended at the Diamond Care Awards in the category of Better Health within the Bolton Health Economy.
  • 2012 NHS 24 (Scotland) video-podcast
  • 2012 National Cancer Action Team funded the printing of 10,000 cards for distribution throughout England and Wales.