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Minister pledges £3.7m to develop NHS incident reporting system


Health minister Simon Burns has promised an extra £3.7m to develop the incident reporting and safety alert service currently run by the soon to be defunct National Patient Safety Agency.

In a speech to the Patient Safety Congress yesterday, Mr Burns told delegates that the NPSA “should be congratulated” on its national reporting and learning service that collects and analyses confidential patient safety incidents and issues safety alerts.

This service is set to survive the impending abolition of the NPSA, which is to be scrapped as part of the government’s drive to reduce the number of arms length bodies.

Responsibility for the service will transfer to the NHS Commissioning Board, although it is unclear at present which organisation will actually run it for the board.

Mr Burns said the change would mean patient safety would be “embedded” in the heart of the NHS rather than “at arms length” and the extra money for the current financial year would help it “develop further”.

The minister gave the keynote address at this year’s conference in Birmingham after health secretary Andrew Lansley pulled out due to “cabinet business”.

Mr Burns told delegates the “pause” in the progress of the Health Bill and listening exercise were essential to “make sure that what we want to happen is what actually happens”.

He also described a demand from deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg that Monitor’s proposed role as economic regulator be removed from the bill “an interesting contribution”.

In addition, he revealed that the government was considering reinforcing the commitment in the NHS Constitution to protect whistleblowers and promised the government would “do all it can to put patient safety at the top of everyone’s list”.

However, when  asked by Peter Walsh, chief executive of the charity Action Against Medical Accidents, whether the government planned to introduce a legally binding duty of candour as set out in the coalition programme for government, Mr Burns said the issue was still under consideration and he was “not in a position to give an answer”.

“I look forward to a time when there is no need for people to blow the whistle because there is a culture of transparency [in the NHS],” he said.


Readers' comments (5)

  • Have I missed the point here? Surely if there were more staff there would be less incidents. This money could be better spent.

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  • Anonymous | 19-May-2011 7:28 pm

    My sentiments entirely.

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  • More appropriately skilled staff would be the intelligent response to the current problems of overwhelmingly regular incident reportage Mr Burns.

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  • They probably KNOW that with the currant situation there are going to be more and more incident reports.....hence the need to make sure they get them " analysed" correctly.
    They have it totally the wrong way round.!
    It doesnt take much common sense to understand that safe staffing levels and skill mix is essential to patient care/safety AND staff safety......less reports!
    I wonder who will bear the brunt of most this....the floor level staff I would say.
    Im not sure about UK incident reports, but here, a Riskman takes so long to do now ( at least 30 mins each one ) that nurses are more reluctant to do them, just because of the time factor.
    If there is no staff safety, there certainly will not be patient safety.

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  • tinkerbell

    i don't know. I'm losing the plot with all this nonsense, maybe that's what they want. It very much reminds of a song by john denver called the 'ambulance down in the valley'. Instead of fencing the top road for safety, they placed an ambulance down in the valley for those who went over the edge. This new waste of money on more paperwork means the government are either clueless, idiots or have their own agenda to ensure nurses finally walk away in surrender and leave the nursing profession so that they can shut up shop even sooner.

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