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‘COVID-19: Safety-II in action’ – with Suzette Woodward, Simon Gill and Paul Stretton

A conversation to help us all to learn from our new everyday work and how to use that learning to do it better. 

23 Apr 2020
12:30 – 13:30

Zoom video call - online/phone (all welcome) *12.30pm*

The COVID-19 crisis has swept aside business as usual – confronting us with an urgent need to respond effectively, and also to share and learn quickly across departmental/organisational/national boundaries.

Our usual simplistic and reactive ‘find and fix’ approach of looking for error and variation compared to ‘work as prescribed’ in clinical practice guidelines etc does not foster the rapid learning and innovation needed in today’s complex – even chaotic – coronavirus situation.

The focus of the emerging Safety-II movement on learning from ‘work as done’ – the work of the frontline (in all its complexity) – and from what goes well rather than error, is particularly suited to today’s current need for rapid cross-boundary learning. (It has inspired movements such as ‘Learning from Excellence’).

This session offered a space for us to share our practical knowing-as-doing, what we’re learning in the current work situation – and look at ways we can do it better. To notice these things that are new that will shortly become the ‘new normal’, the new habits that we will develop.

This will help us to adapt, and a new order emerge from the unpredictability and chaos – fostering team-wide, even system-wide resilience, and reducing burnout.

Watch the webinar

Download Suzette’s slides

More information and resources from the webinar


Suzette Woodward
Suzette is an internationally renowned expert in patient safety, who worked in the NHS for 40 years, as a general nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital and a paediatric intensive care nurse at Guy’s Hospital. For the last five years she was the National Clinical Director for the Sign up to Safety Campaign. She is also a Visiting Professor for the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College University London. Her main area of interest and research relates to translating policy into action and the implementation of a just culture and Safety II. She is the author of two books, Rethinking Patient Safety and Implementing Patient Safety. She is a Q Community member.
To find out more about Suzette, visit her website; @SuzetteWoodward

Simon Gill
Simon’s background is in risk, safety and resilience within the aviation industry. With a degree in engineering and a PhD in psychology, he has always sought a better way of developing products and services to put people at the centre, preventing error and managing risks to individuals and organisations. He now lectures on Safety Risk Management for City University, London and continues to research and implement these concepts in aviation.

Simon now adapts concepts of risk and resilience for critical infrastructure and specifically within a health and social care setting, training practitioners, developing policies, methods iand software and also supporting decision-makyers.

Simon is the convenor of the Q Community’s Organisational Resilience & Safety-II group all welcome to join)

Paul Stretton
Paul is a trainer, teacher, writer, award winning speaker, coach and insatiable boundary pusher.

He has developed the Quantum Safety approach developed over years of working with risk industries. Despite what we are conventionally taught, he found that the approaches and models we are expected to use were inadequate. Safety Triangles, Swiss Cheese Models, Dominos – they are all linear models and often apply outdated or overly simplistic methodology.

Quantum Safety is an approach that evolves our understanding of safety outcomes so that they offer real insight within high risk industries and complex adaptive systems.

His most recent paper explores the idea of causation in greater detail within the Lilypond Model. It challenges ideas used in non complex systems such as Root Cause Analysis, 5 Whys, and offers a new approach to greater learning within complex adaptive systems.

See Paul’s website.