The 2011 'Reducing Harm, Improving Healthcare' conference will be hosted by both Robert Gordon University and Aberdeen University at the Suttie Centre, Aberdeen on March 31st 2011.

Pill ContainerThe conference will include keynote presentations on human factors and medication safety, together with a wide range of workshops and poster presentations. 

This year's event theme is 'Ripples in Ponds' and will involve speakers from RGU and the School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Aberdeen. The event is open to all healthcare students and staff, but places are limited and so registration is recommended.

Registration for the conference has closed.

Abstract Submissions 

The deadline for abstract submissions was Wednesday 9th March 2011.

Conference Sponsors

Wesleyan Logo   Pfizer Logo   Aberdeen University Logos


Conference Programme

The conference programme will include a number of presentations and workshop sessions. The schedule is as follows:

09.30 - 10.00 


Registration and Coffee


10.00 - 10.10




10.10 - 10.45


'Patient safety - A pharmacy perspective'
Presented by Susan Healy and Sandy Thomson


10.45 - 11.20


'Human factors'
Presented by Rhona Flynn


11.20 - 12.35


Workshops I (see below)


12.35 - 13.15




13.15 - 13.50


'The patient cannot swallow'
Presented by Jenny Ross and colleagues


13.50 - 15.05


Workshops II (see below)


15.05 - 15.20


Closing and summing up 



Workshop Sessions I and II

All workshops will last approximately one hour and will take place in both sessions, unless otherwise stated. Attendees should use the registration form to select which workshops they wish to attend. The workshop topics are listed below together with a brief description where available:

1. Instant disability: Participants will have the opportunity to experience some of the challenges for patients with disabilities. Discussion facilitated with real patient stories will centre around support and the awareness required of healthcare practitioners for such patients.

2. Patients on antimicrobials. In this workshop led by Gillian Macartney, Specialist Antibiotic Pharmacist, you will consider the infection-related issues that would contribute to a patient's safety and well-being. These might include issues such as prescribing, administration of drugs, nursing, handling and infection control, etc.

3. Speaking up:  This workshop will explore those times when it may be difficult to speak up (e.g. disclosing an error, challenging a senior). Techniques to improve practice will be practised and discussed.

4. Nutrition: Explore the following issues: What are the safety issues for patients who require enteral and parenteral nutrition? Who is involved in the delivery of such therapy?

5. Adverse event analysis: How does learning occur after an adverse event is reported? In this workshop using a real event which has been reconstructed, we will consider the analysis of an adverse event and what should be done with that analysis to make the system of care safer.

6. Vulnerable patients: Facilitated by the NESCPC will look at perceptions of Child Abuse and Neglect, provide a briefing on the New National Child Protection Policy and the Implications for Practice and analyse a case study to identify where practice can improve in meeting the needs of vulnerable children and young people.

7. The patient journey: Led by Susan Healy and Sandy Thomson, this workshop will consider the potential for medication errors to occur throughout the patient journey, but particularly across interfaces.

8. Medication errors: In this workshop using some examples drawn from clinical practice, we will analysis some medication errors, consider how they happened and how they may be prevented in the future. 

9. Patient Safety from a Radiographic Perspective - What can you do to help?** : This workshop will explore some of the common safety issues encountered.

10. IPE snakes and ladders: This workshop explores the use of games to demonstrate the good and bad clinical practice a patient may be experience. Through the use of a fun and enjoyable activity, active learning will occur with the aim of leading to better clinical practice.

11. Side effects, is it all autonomic?* A case study approach to some common problems


Morning workshop session only 


Afternoon workshop session only  


Aberdeen is a city of fascinating contrasts, with something for everyone. Its rich cultural heritage combines with a thriving contemporary community and a strong economic pulse, to make the "Granite City" a lively and rewarding place in which to live, study and work.

In recent times, it has become the hub of the world's offshore energy network as the administrative and technical centre for the North Sea and beyond.

The city centre has several busy shopping malls and an eclectic mix of independent shops and top chain stores, as well as a wide choice of nightclubs, wine bars, traditional pubs and restaurants.

Culturally, Aberdeen caters for all tastes. A magnificent Edwardian theatre attracts international companies performing ballet, theatre, opera and light entertainment and many other entertainment venues feature classical, contemporary, and rock concerts.

There are miles of golden beaches, dunes and cliffs, which give shelter to great nurseries of seabirds and winter migrants; the nearby mountain ranges of the Cairngorms and the Grampians offer superb opportunities for hillwalking, mountaineering and skiing, and rivers such as the Dee, the Don, and the Ythan offer fishing, rowing and canoeing, as well as breathtaking scenery.

You are assured of an enthusiastic welcome in Aberdeen from both the University and the wider community.

Conference Venue

The conference will be held at the Suttie Centre Lecture Theatre (near Aberdeen Royal Infirmary), Foresterhill Campus, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZD.

Click here to view the location of the Suttie Centre on Google maps 

Click to download a map of the Foresterhill Campus

Arrival by Road

Aberdeen is accessible by road from Edinburgh or Glasgow in around 2 ½ hours. Follow the M9 north to Perth and then the A90 truck road to Aberdeen. The dual carriageway A90 road passes directly through the centre of Aberdeen. Most venues and hotels have their own parking facilities, and there are major car parks at the airport and train station, as well as the central Denburn and Chapel Street Car Parks.

Free on-site parking is available at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary but it is often busy and you may have difficulty finding a space. Please arrive early or consider using public transport as an alternative.

Arrival by Rail

Aberdeen Railway Station is located five minutes' walk from Union Street, and has an active taxi rank to the rear of the platforms. Most trains terminate at Aberdeen, although some go onto Dyce - the station which services the city's industrial district and airport.

Arrival by Bus

Aberdeen's modern central bus station is located within the new Union Square complex, five minutes' walk from Union Street and two minutes' walk from the nearest taxi rank (at the train station).

The following bus routes run between Aberdeen railway station and Foresterhill:
• 3: Mastrick - Cove (via Aberdeen Royal Infirmary), and
• 3A: Mastrick - Charleston (via Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Cove)
Buses run approximately every 12 minutes.

Arrival by Plane

Aberdeen's international airport, six miles north of the city centre, is linked to the city by road and rail links. Buses and taxis are located directly outside the airport terminal, and a bus service links the airport to Dyce railway station. Rental cars are also available, with service points within the airport terminal.



Workshop: 'Patient safety - A pharmacy perspective'
Presented by Susan Healy and Sandy Thomson

Susan Healy: Principal Pharmacist, Acute Services ARI.
Susan has a longstanding interest in medication safety and is a founder member and current Chair of the Grampian Medication Safety Committee. She is also Medicines Management Workstream lead for the Scottish Patient Safety Program for Acute Services.

Sandy Thomson: Lead Pharmacist for Moray CHSCP - primary and secondary care post. Also Patient Safety lead for Moray CHSCP
Sandy has spent 15 years at ARI and has been in Moray for approaching 10 years.
Her special interests include patient safety, pain management, cross sector communication; and integration of medicines management across sectors and professions.


Register for the Reducing Harm, Improving Healthcare conference

Click here to register for the conference online. 

Registrations are open from Friday 18th February 2011. For enquiries, please email or contact: 

Luisa Sutherland
School of Medicine and Dentistry
Clinical Skills Centre
The Suttie Centre for Teaching and Learning in Healthcare
AB25 2ZD
Tel: 01224 43 7712
Fax: 01224 43 7716