NHS are urged to dramatically reduce number of mistakes

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Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has urged the National Health Service to draw up plans to halve the number of serious mistakes being made and reduce the number of preventable deaths by a third. The Health Secretary has said that NHS Trusts should put in place plans to reduce ‘avoidable harm’ such as bed sores, errors in medication and blood clots. Mr Hunt says that the plans could save up to 6000 lives over the next three years.

The new drive, called ‘Sign up to Safety’, is mainly aimed at hospitals, but other trusts including those providing health and community services are also eligible to take part. Whilst it is hoped that the new plans will reduce the number of medical negligence cases, the sheme will be voluntary and will rely on individual Trusts being honest about the nature and number of mistakes they make. The Trusts will then be tasked with coming up with their own plans to halve the number of mistakes being made. Whilst those Trusts which do take part in the scheme will be rewarded with lower insurance premiums, there are concerns that those Trusts with the most serious problems (and arguably those making the most mistakes), will not be obliged to take part in the scheme.

The new scheme is being accompanied by  a number of other measures designed to improve  safety within the NHS, including the introduction of a ‘duty of candour’ which will compel the NHS to be ‘open and honest’ with patients about mistakes.