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Q&A: What is the Berwick report?

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As the NHS prepares for yet another high profile review, here’s a handy guide explaining what it’s all about

Q: What is the Berwick review and report?

A: In March the government appointed US safety expert Professor Don Berwick to lead an expert group to advise the NHS in England on how to prevent patients being harmed while receiving healthcare.

The review was commissioned by the prime minister following the publication in February of another review, the high profile public inquiry report by Robert Francis QC into the breakdown of care at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.

Professor Berwick’s group, called the National Advisory Group on the Safety of Patients in England, includes 15 recognised experts from the US and the UK (see document attached, right, for details of the group’s members).

It has been charged with advising on how the NHS can move to a “zero-harm” culture, based on the best scientific evidence from across the NHS and other industries and health services from around the world (see document attached, right, for the review’s terms of reference).

The Berwick review’s recommendations will be published later today.


Q: Who is Professor Don Berwick?

A: Professor Don Berwick is regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on patient safety and improvement.

A paediatrician by training, he is a former health policy advisor to President Obama and co-founder of the global not-for-profit organisation the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

He has investigated applying quality control measures used in aeronautics and manufacturing in healthcare settings.

Professor Berwick was appointed to lead the US public healthcare system in 2010, but had to resign a year later due to political opposition.

He is generally regarded as a fan of the NHS.


Q: What will happen today?

A: The recommendations from Professor Berwick’s review were revealed at 1pm, together with initial responses from health secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England chief nursing officer Jane Cummings.

Check for the latest news and analysis on the report’s findings, followed by initial responses from nursing organisations and other relevant groups.  

And follow Nursing Times reporters @sjcalkin and @ShaunLintern on Twitter for live updates.

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