News story

Scheme to improve patient safety is on track to save 6,000 lives

A year after the launch of Sign up to Safety, 260 NHS organisations have set out ambitious plans to save lives by reducing avoidable harm.

This figure far exceeds the campaign’s target to get 180 organisations to sign up in its first year. It means that Sign up to Safety is in a strong position to reach its aim of saving up to 6,000 lives over 3 years through the reduction of preventable harm such as medication errors, blood clots and bed sores.

Successful organisations have already been engaging staff and patients in the scheme. For example, Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust is using its Healthbus to ask people across 200 sites in the North West to make a pledge to improve patient safety by reducing falls in care homes or being aware of suicide risk.

And at County Durham and Darlington Foundations NHS Trust, junior doctors are learning about Sign up to Safety as part of training, clinical forums and induction sessions.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

I’m delighted that so many NHS organisations have committed to our ambition of making the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world. Promoting safer care in innovative ways that involve patients and staff on the front line is vital to achieving this.

I urge all NHS organisations to become part of this ground-breaking shift in the way we think about care. By listening to staff and patients and supporting them when things go wrong, we can learn from mistakes, prevent harm and ultimately save lives.

As part of government’s drive to make the NHS the safest and most transparent healthcare system in the world, the government has already introduced:

  • a statutory duty of candour
  • a new Care Quality Commission inspection regime
  • 21,000 extra clinical staff in hospitals since May 2010
  • 1,000 more GPs since September 2010
  • the MyNHS website, which holds around 45,000 pieces of data on health and care in England (for example on staffing, patient safety and mental health)
  • a Health Education England programme to ensure that patient safety is at the heart of the education and training of the health and healthcare workforce

To help staff in organisations that have signed up to the scheme, the Sign up to Safety website includes campaign resources.