The new NHS patient safety strategy
The new NHS patient safety strategy, launched on 2 July, promises many things and lays out the future trajectory of NHS patient safety policy-making in England. It is important to consider whether this can be regarded as bringing fresh ideas or whether it is simply a rehash of old ones that failed. Will it lead to an ingrained NHS patient safety culture? To answer these questions it is important to look back at how patient safety policy has developed.
NHS patient safety policies come and go, accompanied by the creation of new NHS organisations, policy refinement and repeated calls to arms for NHS staff to embrace the concept of a patient-centric service.
Patient safety policy development goes back to at least 2000 and the seminal NHS patient safety publication, An Organisation with a Memory (Department of Health, 2000). Despite a lot of government effort over the years, endemic patient safety problems persist. Major patient safety crises are all too common, showing that past lessons have largely gone unlearnt.
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