Health Secretary will announce plans to improve NHS safety and transparency at the first ministerial-level Global Patient Safety Summit
The 2-day summit (on 9 and 10 March 2016) brings together health ministers, senior delegates and expert clinicians from across the world including Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organisation.
Speaking at the summit, Jeremy Hunt will describe a range of new measures including an independent Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch and legal protection for anyone giving information following a hospital mistake. Legal ‘safe spaces’ will mean those co-operating with investigations will be supported and protected to speak up to help bring new openness to the NHS’s response to tragic mistakes. Families will be told the full truth more quickly and the NHS will become better at learning when things go wrong and acting upon it.
Jeremy Hunt will also announce that, from April 2018, expert medical examiners will independently review and confirm the cause of all deaths. This was originally recommended by the Shipman Inquiry, and subsequently by Robert Francis following the events of Mid Staffs. If any death needs to be investigated and if there is cause for concern, appropriate action will be taken.
The current system has remained largely unchanged for over 50 years and leads to significant variations in the number of deaths that are investigated. The changes announced by the Health Secretary will reassure the public that if things go wrong, the causes will be identified and investigated.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
A huge amount of progress has been made in improving our safety culture following the tragic events at Mid Staffs but to deliver a safer NHS for patients, 7 days a week, we need to unshackle ourselves from a quick-fix blame culture and acknowledge that sometimes bad mistakes can be made by good people.
It is a scandal that every week there are potentially 150 avoidable deaths in our hospitals and it is up to us all to make the need for whistleblowing and secrecy a thing of the past as we reform the NHS and its values and move from blaming to learning.
Today we take a step forward to building a new era of openness and the safest healthcare system in the world.
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