Authored article

Jeremy Hunt: message to NHS staff about making the NHS safer

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Secretary of State for Health launches ‘Sign up for Safety’ which aims to halve avoidable harm and save up to 6,000 lives in next 3 years.

Earlier this week I visited the Virginia Mason hospital in Seattle, widely regarded as one of the safest. The NHS is the fairest healthcare system in the world and we are all rightly proud of what it stands for – but it’s my ambition to make it the safest too, an ambition I know is shared by everyone working on the frontline.

Unsafe care is not just bad for patients, it also wastes money and wastes time - longer stays, more treatment and more re-admissions. According to one study £1 billion worth of bed days in the NHS were wasted on preventable harm, £1 billion that could have been spent on more staff and improved care.

So I am launching a new campaign - Sign up for Safety - which will aim to halve avoidable harm over the next three years, saving 6,000 lives in the process. 12 hospitals are already signed up and I hope your organisation does too. Signing up means your Trust will get extra help and support in understanding best practice for improving safety.

To succeed we will need your help and your commitment. More than half a million people signed up to NHS Change Day earlier this month and soon this campaign will be asking as many staff as possible to sign up to safety too. Given what I already know about the values of NHS staff, I am confident that we can realise this shared ambition to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world. Please join me!

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