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Looking back over the past year in patient safety

14 January 2021
Volume 30 · Issue 1


John Tingle, Lecturer in Law, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, discusses some recent legal cases and patient safety reports

As we begin 2021 it is important to look back and consider whether there have been any landmark changes in clinical negligence and patient safety in the NHS, whether it is possible to discern any positive or negative progress towards the development of ingrained patient safety culture. My columns throughout 2020 discussed several clinical negligence and patient safety issues. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced major changes and challenges for the NHS, we have seen staff and systems rise to meet these. New ways of working, for example with online GP consulting, better cooperation, collaboration and communication between local and national health agencies are just some positive outcomes.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) (2020)State of Care annual assessment of health and social care in England noted some improvement in NHS acute care, where 75% of core services were rated as good or outstanding compared with 72% the previous year. However, major patient safety problems persist:

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