Graham Shaw CFA, a Senior First Officer Training Pilot for British Airways (BA), visited St George’s Advanced Patient Simulator and Skills (GAPS) Centre and the catheter labs at St George’s in May.

Although this wasn’t the first time a pilot has visited St George’s, it was the first time we have we have been lucky enough for Graham to engage directly with the clinical team observing our current safety practices and offer his advice and feedback on our systems. Our initial patient safety courses were developed with pilots using aviation safety procedures that have since evolved into medical safety behaviours and teamwork.

Part of Graham’s role, as well as flying BA 777 planes around the world, is to critically assess and appraise teams working together. So, during his visit he observed our checklist behaviour, teamwork skills, behaviours when working under stressful situations and assessed the ‘human factors’ performance of the multidisciplinary teams in the labs.

He also spent time in the simulation suite with Huon Snelgrove, Consultant in Medical Education from the GAPS Centre, while he audited our WHO Checklist Compliance, where additional feedback was given over some of the non-technical skills we face in simple and complex medical teams.

Graham provided written feedback to the catheter labs team in the same domains as he would for assessing a flight crew in a simulator; professional standards, leadership and teamwork, communication, situational awareness, workload management, problem solving and decision making and knowledge and application of procedures. The catheter labs are now working on introducing new patient safety tools in order to assist this and Graham’ s observations and feedback is proving to be very useful.

Graham said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to St George’s. I observed several examples of great practice and offered guidance on how things can be improved further. I enjoyed meeting with the various staff groups to learn more about what they do on a day to day basis too.”

Stephen Brecker, Consultant Cardiologist and Chief of Cardiology at St George’s, said: “Graham’s visit was extremely positive. It was fascinating to learn how pilots have defined levels of expressing concern to a colleague on the flight deck – and this is the kind of thing that we can remodel to work within our area of expertise too.”

He added: “We look forward to sharing this practice with other teams across the Trust too, as the benefits can be replicated across specialties.”

Notes to editors

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