Quality and Patient Safety

Quality and Patient Safety

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In 2008, Lord Darzi’s ‘High Quality Care for All’ set out a vision for an NHS with quality at its heart. The report led to an understanding that concentrating on three areas – patient safety, clinical effectiveness and patient experience would result in good quality care for patients.

While this shaped the beginning of a new era in the NHS, regrettably it did not prevent failings in care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

This led to a watershed moment for the NHS with a public inquiry and the publication of Robert Francis QC’s extensive report in February 2013.

The report described the appalling suffering of many patients within a culture of secrecy and defensiveness.

The inquiry identified a whole system failure and the report made a total of 290 recommendations. The Government announced Sir Bruce Keogh would undertake an immediate review into 13 other struggling NHS Trusts with high patient mortality indicators and as a result, 11 of the 13 hospitals were put in ‘special measures’.

The Government’s response to the Francis Report ‘Hard Truths’ in November 2013 was a commitment to fully implement 204 of the 290 recommendations.

A number of further reports were commissioned which led to further actions, for example the National Quality Board’s ‘How to ensure the right people, with the right skills are in the right place at the right time’; ensuring all hospitals publish ward staffing levels and carry out biannual safe nurse staffing reviews; and the Cavendish Review which identified training requirements for health care assistants.

The Government asked Don Berwick, an internationally respected patient safety guru, to undertake an independent review and a national advisory group was set up, led by senior experts (including Sir Robert Francis and Lord Darzi) which produced a series of recommendations in the Berwick Review.

The Walton Centre has responded to these recommendations with a series of immediate and longer term action plans. These plans have led to a number of changes to strengthen the quality of patient care, including new ways to monitor and improve systems and processes. 

The Quality and Patient Safety Strategy sets out the way forward for the next three years using five foundations which have been agreed with The Walton Centre staff.

These include:

1) Leadership at all levels 

2) Patient engagement at all levels - listening to patients and working in partership with them

3) Culture of continuous learning - looking for ways to improve

4) Build capacity and skills - enhance staff skills

5) Use measurement to predict - understand and use our data to dentify areas to celebrate and build on


You can read our Quality Account 2015-16 here.