Speaking to delegates at today’s Patient Safety Congress in London, she said it was the only way patient safety would improve.
Ms Keen said she welcomed the idea of Patient Safety Direct – a single point of access for frontline staff to report safety incidents proposed in the interim report of the NHS Next Stage Review. But she cautioned that she was not sure the idea went far enough, because of a reluctance to report mistakes.
Ms Keen told delegates there was a hierarchy of accountability, but everyone was responsible for patient safety. ‘It is everyone’s responsibility and you cannot pass the buck,’ she said.
‘It is not easy to say you have made a mistake, whether it is within the nursing or medical profession,’ she added. ‘I will ask you to do more on this because you have got to find ways of being more honest.
‘Patients have the right to expect safe treatment and we are still unable to assure them that all organisations do,’ Ms Keen told delegates.