Health secretary praises UCLH for 'outstanding' patient safety 

21/06/2013 00:00 

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt visited the University College Hospital Education Centre today to learn more about UCLH’s  work to ensure patient safety is at the core of everything it does.

Health secretary praises UCLH for 'outsanding' patient safety

Jeremy Hunt in the University College Hospital Education Centre's robotic training centre

The health secretary visited the centre’s clinical simulation theatre and robotic training centre where doctors and surgeons are able to hone their skills in a safe environment.

He then delivered a keynote speech to an audience which included UCLH nurses and representatives from stakeholders from across the NHS

Mr Hunt paid tribute to the hard work, commitment and success the NHS has achieved on patient safety. But he made it clear that there was no room for error in patient care and said the NHS must support staff to be even better.

Speaking about UCLH, he said: “I know there are lots of doctors and nurses in the audience who work at UCLH and who do a fantastic job. You represent the very best of what the NHS is doing – thank you. I chose to come to this hospital because of its outstanding record on patient safety. For those of you [in the audience] who are students – you couldn’t be learning at a better place.”

Introducing the Health Secretary, UCLH chief executive Sir Robert Naylor said patient safety and outcomes were a priority for the Trust, and this direction was influenced strongly by governors and driven by clinical leaders. This is supported by a programme of education and training, including the surgical safety checklist and after action reviews.

“Safety is everyone’s business and our objective is to embed our values – safety, kindness, teamwork and improving – into the DNA of all of our excellent staff,” Sir Robert said.

“We recognise our own fallibility. Concerns will be raised by both patients and staff. We must be open and honest and see every failure and complaint as an opportunity to improve.”

Health secretary praises UCLH for 'outsanding' patient safety

The Health Secretary being filmed for media coverage at his visit to the Education Centre

He added: “This investments in culture, leadership and training – aligned to the accountability of all of our professionals – is the essential foundation of our commitment to patient safety.”

Mr Hunt called on the NHS to:

  • Create a transparent culture and a structure and leadership that better supports staff;
  • Publish better information on patient safety, including measuring the likelihood of a harm-free patient experience across every hospital in the country;
  • Strengthen the doctor-patient relationship by making sure every patient, in every hospital in the country knows which individual is accountable for their care and;
  • Make sure the whole system – from providers of care, to those who plan and design care – is focused, encouraged and enabled to tackle patient safety issues.

He said: “I pay tribute to the many NHS leaders who have refused to accept any level of patient harm as satisfactory or inevitable and are fighting hard to turn the tide. We must make sure this is reflected across the NHS. It is time for a major rethink – a different kind of culture and leadership, where staff are supported to do what their instincts and commitment to patients tell them.

“We must make sure that patients know where the buck stops and who is ultimately responsible for their care. And above all, we must listen more to NHS staff, so we can design systems that encourage them to act safely whatever pressures they face.

“I want the NHS to be the world’s safest health system. It has all of the tools to do this, and I believe it should aspire to nothing less.”


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