NHS in England to publish statistics on avoidable deaths
The NHS in England will become the first health system to publish figures on avoidable patient deaths, Jeremy Hunt reveals.
The NHS in England will become the first health system to publish figures on avoidable patient deaths in a move to increase transparency and learn from mistakes, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said.
Mr Hunt said the move was aimed at encouraging a culture where it will be made easy for staff to record where errors have occurred, acknowledging that pressure from regulators, and the threat of litigation had sometimes prevented transparency.
By the end of this year, 170 out of 223 trusts will publish data on deaths they believe could have been prevented, the BBC reported.
'First in the world'
Mr Hunt said: 'We are going to be the first country in the world where hospitals, by law, are going to publish their own estimate of the number of avoidable or preventable deaths.'
Mr Hunt spoke about the effect of avoidable deaths on staff.
'In that situation, the family are victims, but so too are the doctors, nurses and midwives, it's incredibly traumatic for them,' he added.
'They want to be open and transparent and learn from what happens but, frankly, we sometimes make that practically impossible, where people are worried about litigation, being struck off by the General Medical Council (GMC) and worrying about the Care Quality Commission.
'So what this is doing is saying that we are going to be open and transparent about what happens, and we are going to make sure the most important thing of all – that we learn from mistakes.
'This is putting in place structures which, all over the world they are looking at the NHS and saying this is a remarkable thing to do.'
Same methodology to be used
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that figures between hospitals may not be directly comparable because some already had a culture where mistakes were more easily raised.
'The hospitals are all being asked to use the same methodology to determine where a death is preventable or not, but the reason you can't compare between hospitals is because some of them have good internal cultures, which make it easy for staff to speak out about things that have gone wrong, and others are still on that journey,' he said.
'What this is about is not some top-down system or some huge bureaucracy imposed from the Department of Health or NHS England, it's about hospitals creating a culture which makes it easy for staff on the frontline to say, "something went wrong, I think it could have had a different outcome, and we need to learn from this so that it doesn't happen again", and that's what's starting to happen.'
In other news
- Grenfell: Six months on
- 'Halt sexual health clinic closures in London until online support is in place'