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New review seeks to put patient safety at 'heart' of NHS training

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Health Education England has announced that an expert board is to review ways of putting patient safety at the “heart” of how the healthcare workforce is educated and trained.

The national body said its new HEE Safety Board will ensure that the principles of patient safety are embedded across all areas of the education and training system.

“We need to revisit how we ensure education and training makes patient safety the bedrock of our education and training system”

Keith Pearson

It is seeking views from students, universities, providers of NHS services and patients to address how patient safety is currently taught and how it could be improved.

The board will be chaired by Professor Norman Williams, past president of the Royal College of Surgeons.

He said: “After failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust and other hospitals, as well as the myriad of every day mistakes that impact on patients across our NHS, we need to revisit how we ensure education and training makes patient safety the bedrock of our education and training system and how our universities and providers of NHS services train and educate for safety.”

HEE chair Sir Keith Pearson, who is vice chair of the new board, added: “We are going right back to the start of the journey for our healthcare professionals, when they start to be educated and trained.

Sir Keith Pearson

Sir Keith Pearson

“It is there that values and behaviours and expectations are set and it is there we shall focus this work,” he said.

This announcement follows the launch of the Department of Health’s Sign up to Safety campaign last month, which aims to halve avoidable harm and save up to 6,000 lives over the next three years.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Training has a crucial role to play and I welcome this programme.”

The HEE Safety Board will start its work later this year and will look to report in the autumn of 2015.

Professor Williams and Sir Keith will be seeking other members to join the board over future weeks and will then set out a work programme and invite evidence.

The board is likely to conduct evidence sessions around themes such as multi-disciplinary education for safety, and how to measure and value patient safety knowledge and competence.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • michael stone

    I've got issues with 'patient safety at the heart of': I want patients to be protected from mistakes and bad practice, etc, but for reasons which are too lengthy to go into here, this can have significant unintended consequences.

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