The NHS Confederation has responded to today’s speech by health secretary Jeremy Hunt, welcoming his focus on empowerment of NHS patients and staff and the commitments to locally led change, more transparency and a culture of improvement rather than blame.
On the creation of a new body NHS Improvement, with a hosted team modelled on the air investigation branch in the air industry, Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“The air industry’s systematic approach and no-blame culture around investigating avoidable deaths provides opportunities for learning. While people are not planes and are much more variable and complex, we need to always seek to learn from wherever we can.
“Our members are part of a system that is seeking to embrace this culture. Some staff still lack the confidence to report concerns that affect patient safety and it’s the ongoing responsibility of leaders at all levels – including the new merged body and politicians – to create the right environment. These announcements signal a welcome shift in the right direction.”
On more transparency and fewer targets he said:
“Simplifying targets and encouraging transparency will give greater assurance to local organisations that they can address their issues accurately and openly without fear of recrimination or over-regulation.
“It is a useful step towards fulfilling calls from the health service for a simplified outcomes framework that better supports joined up working, across healthcare, public health and social care. Health and care leaders need to be able to focus on how best to meet local people’s needs and work in partnership to develop new care models, rather than be dominated by individual organisations’ targets.
“Our members have told us that we need targets which are evidence based, reflect what matters to patients and don’t create unnecessary paperwork or perverse incentives.”
On the merger of Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority he said:
“We welcome the merger between Monitor and the TDA. Our members have told us that they need the national bodies to work more closely together – with 96 per cent suggesting this was essential in the future. The new organisation has the opportunity to ensure a consistent approach to regulation and support diverse providers to work towards consistent, high standards of management and care.”
On local leadership and innovation he said:
“The emphasis on a locally led, bottom-up approach to new care models is very welcome. We must make maximum use of the knowledge and insights of our staff, and of innovations and new technologies, to shape care which reflects people’s needs and wishes.
“Shifting from a blame culture to an improvement culture is vital if we are to truly embrace the full potential of innovation.
“Overall these changes must support the delivery of the Five Year Forward View and be resourced and achievable within a system that is undergoing significant change.”