The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, has today (Thursday 16 October) revealed that poor care costs the NHS up to £2.5bn every year and argues for further cultural change to improve patient safety. Speaking to an audience of NHS staff, managers and directors at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Jeremy Hunt set out the findings of the Frontier Economics report on poor care.

Reacting to the announcement Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive of the Health Foundation, comments:

'We welcome the commitment and ambition to improve patient safety demonstrated in today’s announcement by the Secretary of State. Bold ambitions have the potential to deliver tangible improvements in safety and the creation of a sustainable safety culture. However such ambitions must be matched by the ingredients that help to make them a reality – a commitment to continuous improvement, stable and dedicated leadership, staff engagement, building organisation-wide skills in improvement with the measurement to support it, and having open discussions about safety with patients and staff.

‘The Health Foundation has spent over a decade supporting thousands of staff on the frontline to test ideas to make care safer. Our funding has enabled hundreds of health care leaders to work with safety experts and share that learning. We believe local teams must be empowered and skilled-up to work out their own ways to improve safety.

‘For instance, we have supported a project at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where Hunt made his speech today, which has been looking at reducing harm by improving shift handovers. 

‘Birmingham is just one example of how small changes to behaviours can have a significant impact in the reduction of potential harms to patients.’ 

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