NHS Urged to Reduce Mistakes to Prevent Deaths

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, has said that NHS trusts need to have plans in place to reduce the number of serious mistakes being made in order to save 6,000 lives over the next three years.

Mistakes include medication errors, blood clots and bedsores and plans to halve “avoidable harm” could stop a third of the preventable deaths over the next few years.

Jeremy Hunt is behind the drive ‘Sign up to Safety’ and if trusts take action by planning how to reduce mistakes, they will get reduced premiums for insurance cover.

Sign up to safety is primarily being aimed at hospitals but other trusts including those providing mental health and community services are also being invited to take part.

Alongside the drive, there are a number of other measures being designed to improve safety in the NHS for example, introducing a duty of candour compelling the NHS to be open and honest with patients about mistakes.

In June, a new page on the NHS Choices website will be launched called “How Safe Is My Hospital” and it will enable patients to compare patient safety across a range of indicators.

Jeremy Hunt said, “it is my clear ambition that the NHS should become the safest healthcare system anywhere in the world. We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to save lives and prevent avoidable harm – which will empower staff and save money that can be re-invested in patient care.”

However, shadow health minister Jamie Reed said, “the government is failing to learn the lessons of the Francis Review – having handed out P45s to thousands of nurses and frontline staff. More than half of nurses now say their ward is dangerously understaffed, and more believe patient safety has got worse over the last year rather than better.”

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