Francis has presented an amazing opportunity for healthcare, if people are able to grasp it. Looking from just over the fence has allowed me to observe behaviours, especially over the last few weeks, and I’m not sure that everyone is able to grasp that opportunity. Too close to the action sometimes blots out the bigger picture.

As a ‘harmed relative’ coming from another safety critical industry, I’ve been able to keep that bigger picture throughout not just the last few post-Francis weeks, but also since my late wife died. Sometimes it’s worthwhile taking a moment out to reflect. I hope this coming Thursday evening will offer you that opportunity.

About two years ago I approached Dr Kevin Fong with an idea for a BBC scientific programme, and at last it’s happened. Since September I’ve been working with Kevin and the BBC Horizon team to pull together a programme about human factors in healthcare. It looks at how learning about the human in the system and the system itself can bring about enormous improvements in safety and outcomes that technology and medical science can only aspire to.

Kevin and the Horizon team have produced something inspirational yet scientific, and – just as importantly – it's by a clinician, for clinicians. It's written in a way that will appeal to both those in healthcare and the public. It uses a tragic death to highlight human factors that all of us are prone to, and looks at how we can learn from others both in and outside healthcare to make a real difference in the future.

The lessons of this programme are for everyone in healthcare.

It would wonderful if you could pass on details of the programme to anyone you know who works in healthcare. My goal is that by the end of this week, every one of the 1 million or so people who work in healthcare in the UK will be able to watch it (whether on Thursday or on iPlayer).

About 30 years ago, as a very new pilot I watched a television programme, called ‘The Wrong Stuff’, about the final frontier of safety in aviation. Planes weren’t crashing because of technical problems, it was the human that was the weak link. Over the years human factors science has taken its place at the top table in aviation. The National Patient Safety Advisory Group announced by the Prime Minister – to be lead by Dr Don Berwick – includes Professor Jim Reason who’s often regarded as the ‘father’ of human factors.

Human factors is getting on the top table in healthcare.

Martin is a pilot and the founder and current Chair of the Clinical Human Factors Group,