Saturday, 30 November 2013

Safety in the NHS - Should be more Local

If the Francis Report on the human disaster at Midstaffordshire NHS trust and the ensuing Berwick Report on NHS safety have done, it is to concentrate everyone's mind on patient safety and quality in the NHS, the universal healthcare system in the UK. Patient safety is the number one yardstick with which every intervention or plan in any hospital or healthcare organisation, however small or large should be measured against.

This tweet therefore should encourage patients and healthcare workers in the NHS who have banged on about this for a long time.

It pains me therefore to express a doubt about the effectiveness of having a gigantic uniform system being imposed from above on a whole range of diverse institutions that make up the NHS. Quality and patient safety awareness should be in the DNA/blood of every health service manager and healthcare worker and not yet another programme coming down from big brother above - humans just do not work like that.

If big brother want to do anything, they can publish a generic (and not stupidly long) set of quality outcomes around which local institutions can construct a meaningful quality programme. IMHO, a locally designed system is far more likely to be successful.