Press release

New league launched to encourage openness in the NHS

Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) launch a new league to encourage openness and transparency in the NHS

NHS trusts and foundation trusts will be publically ranked on their openness and transparency under a new ‘Learning from mistakes league’ launched by Monitor and the NHS TDA today.

Data for 2015/16 – which is drawn from the 2015 NHS staff survey and from the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) – shows that:

  • 18 providers were outstanding
  • 102 were good
  • 78 gave cause for significant concern
  • 32 had a poor reporting culture

The league table has been drawn together by giving providers scores based on the fairness and effectiveness of procedures for reporting errors, near misses and incidents; staff confidence and security in reporting unsafe clinical practice and the percentage of staff who feel able to contribute towards improvements at their trust.

NHS Improvement (which will bring together Monitor, the NHS TDA, the NRLS and the Patient Safety Team) will work with providers at the bottom of the league to assist them with improving their openness and transparency.

Mike Durkin, National Patient Safety Director at NHS England said:

Learning from mistakes saves lives. In order to properly learn from mistakes we need to create a culture with openness and transparency at its heart.

By letting trusts know how well they are doing compared with their peers, we want to start a conversation involving clinicians, managers and supporters of the NHS about what we can all do to make all parts of the NHS as safe as they can be.

One of the most important duties of us all as clinicians, managers and supporters of the NHS is to cultivate an environment in which learning is at the heart of all we do. This goes far beyond education and training, important as they both are; and it can all too easily be forgotten as we wrestle with the day-to-day challenges of providing care.

We would like all providers to reflect on the data. We know that data cannot ever tell the whole story, and that is true even of data that is rooted in the insights of staff. But it can start a discussion, and, yes, a process of learning.

In that spirit, we are keen to emphasise that this is a first attempt at a ‘Learning from mistakes league’. We also want to learn and improve, and would be open to suggestions from colleagues about how we might make this better in future.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) Chief Inspector of Hospitals said:

We welcome this new commitment to embedding an open and learning culture in NHS hospitals. There can be no improvement without real transparency on performance combined with the desire to understand and learn from the resulting information.

CQC will support this commitment by assessing Trusts’ learning culture as part of our ‘well-led’ domain, using information from the NHS Staff Survey on openness and learning, combined with information from NRLS.