The Secretary of State for Health talks about the latest milestones in his drive to create a more transparent culture across the NHS.
I have spoken many times about my determination to ensure the highest standards of safety and care throughout our NHS. Well, this week we have achieved some major milestones.
Firstly, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published new guidance on safe and efficient nurse staffing levels on hospital wards. The guidance takes account of the best available evidence, draws on the lessons learned in the aftermath of Mid Staffordshire and follows widespread consultation. We have already increased the number of nurses by 4,000 over this Parliament – this guidance will help us be much more scientific about where additional need may lie.
Meanwhile, Professor Sir Mike Richards, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals, has spoken about the significant improvements in almost all of the 11 trusts that were placed into special measures last summer. The lessons learned from the process include the importance of first-class leadership, proper staff engagement and the value of encouraging organisations to openly acknowledge and address failings. The fundamental change in culture, to one where the NHS listens to and acts quickly on what staff and patients say, is making a real difference. Patient care is now both safer and more compassionate.
The progress made in these trusts is a direct result of the dedication and determination of staff who have worked incredibly hard to turn their hospitals round. On behalf of all patients, thank you.
This week we also announced we are going to extend this proven inspection regime to adult social care services, to make sure that some of the most vulnerable people in the country are being looked after properly. I hope this will be welcomed by many of you involved in discharging people from hospitals.
Finally, I would like to add my congratulations to the winners and finalists of the Nursing Times and Health Service Journal’s Patient Safety and Care Awards 2014 announced this week. Everyone involved has been recognised for delivering safe and high quality care for their patients day in day out. They are an inspiration to us all – congratulations!