Jeremy Hunt Announces Plan To Crackdown On 'Mistakes' By NHS Doctors

09/03/2016 00:01 | Updated 09 March 2016
JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images

Jeremy Hunt will today announce measures to crackdown on what he sees as a cover up culture with in the NHS that undermines patient safety.

The move is likely to further raise tensions between the health secretary and the medical profession as junior doctors stage another strike in protest at the new contract being imposed on them by the government.

In a speech at the Global Patient Safety Summit, Hunt will say the it is a "scandal" that there are potentially 150 avoidable deaths in hospitals every week.

Hunt will set out new guidelines which he says will see NHS staff given credit for owning up to mistakes and apologising - rather than being punished.

The health secretary will use his speech to announce a range of new measures including an independent Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch and legal protection for anyone giving information following a hospital mistake.

And from April 2018, expert medical examiners will independently review and confirm the cause of all deaths in hospitals.

There will also be a new so-called 'Learning from Mistakes League' that will rank the level of openness and transparency in NHS provider organisations.

Hunt will say: "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, seven 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.

The health secretary will add: "Today we take a step forward to building a new era of openness and the safest healthcare system in the world."

James Titcombe, Morecambe Bay parent and National Adviser on Patient Safety, Culture and Quality, said: "Time and time again, we hear the promise that 'lessons will be learned' following reports about systemic failures and individual stories of avoidable harm and loss in the NHS. Yet, far too often, the same mistakes are repeated and meaningful learning and lasting change simply doesn’t happen.

“If we are going to transform this, it’s clear that we need to do something different. Events at Mid Staffs and Morecambe Bay serve to highlight the devastating consequences of a culture that failures to learn."

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