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Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health Speaks at Improving Patient Safety Conference

Jeremy HuntJeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health addressed todays conference on improving patient safety. Jeremy stressed that we have made a huge amount of progress in this area but there are a few areas that still cause him concern and emphasised the 5% avoidable error rate that translates to 1000 deaths a month. The Secretary of State for Health said "this kind of level of harm is common in healthcare systems - why have we accepted this as normal?".

Jeremy Hunt also emphasised that its not just deaths but also harm and said that never events were still happening every week in the NHS, he said "these are completely unacceptable - my ambition is for the NHS to become the first country in the world to crack this. We will embrace the zero harm model". Jeremy went on to say that "we absolutely should have an aspiration of zero harm healthcare".

Jeremy stated that changing the culture has to come from inside organisations, because people want to do it. Referring to the airline industry and also Virginia Mason Medical Centre in the US, he said that "a key factor is to create a learning culture where people can speak out if something isnt right". He said that Virginia Mason Medical Centre, which in some months have over 800 patient safety alerts raised by staff, shows that the path to lower costs is the same path as the path to safe care.

The Secretary of State also emphasised the role of data. "We need a very big cultural change around the use of data, data can be a great ally to improve patient safety". Using heart surgery as an example he said "the use of data is something I am absolutely determined to embrace in the NHS.. We need to make peer review and data transparency the main engine for change in the NHS"

When questioned by Roger Goss of Patient Concern on "naming and shaming" GPs who fall down on cancer diagnosis, Jeremy Hunt stated "I don't believe in naming and shaming GPs, I believe in using data to identify outliers...I believe if GPs are outliers on cancer diagnosis they would want to know this information".

Background information below - source https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/jeremy-hunt-message-to-nhs-staff-on-strengthening-patient-safety

Jeremy Hunt's message to NHS staff is on strengthening patient safety and the Secretary of State for Health talks about a number of new initiatives launched this week to strengthen patient safety in the NHS:

"Focusing on safety is about focusing on things that matter to staff. So I am confident that in harnessing the talent and enthusiasm across the NHS, we will help make enduring changes to improve safety, halve avoidable harm and halve the costs of harm. Most importantly it will make a positive difference to the people we care for - and potentially save 6,000 lives over the next three years. None of this can happen without you - so I do hope that you will give your support to the important changes announced this week."

Last week the respected Commonwealth Fund ranked the UK as the best healthcare system in the world. We can all be particularly proud of the fact we moved from seventh place to first for patient-centred care and also came top for safety. This is down to the hard work and dedication of everyone who works in the NHS.

"But we can do even better. We know from other areas where there is a risk of harm – like the airline industry – that safety depends on staff being confident that they can point out problems. Still today too many staff in the NHS feel they can’t speak up or that nothing will happen if they do. So this week I’ve launched a new package of measures to help change things for the better," says Jeremy Hunt.

In a world-leading drive on transparency, the NHS has published a swathe of safety data - including staffing levels and ‘open and honest reporting’ - for adult and paediatric hospital wards, including mental health and community hospitals. The data has been published on a new safety section on NHS Choices and will give staff and their patients the chance to see how well you are doing on some key safety measures.

 

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Download: Jeremy Hunt's Presentation

2 July 2014

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