A Birmingham hospital trust is making determined moves to improve patient safety after a series of deaths caused by medical errors. One of those is to appoint the former leader of a national patient safety watchdog, Lord Philip Hunt of Kings Heath. Health Correspondent Alison Dayani reports.
A chequered history of safety breaches and unnecessary patient deaths has dogged Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust for the past four years.
After a wave of being shamed in a series of inquests and investigations, the largest NHS Trust in the West Midlands is undergoing a clean sweep.
Into a new regime promising “openness” and “safety” appears Lord Philip Hunt of Kings Heath, two-time Health Minister and former chairman of the National Patient Safety Agency.
The 5,500 nurses and midwives across Heartlands Hospital, in Bordesley Green, Good Hope Hospital, in Sutton Coldfield and Solihull Hospital have already become the first in the country to sign a pledge to be extra compassionate, safe and a “patient champion”.
Every ward is now being vigorously audited on everything from infection control, to drug management, nutrition and care standards and the chairman also intimates other moves in the name of safety, such as integrating more care across the three hospitals, as seen in the downgrading of maternity wards in Solihull.
“My job is to focus on safety and quality,” said Lord Hunt. “There is a very structured programme in place to improve safety.
“Sometimes things go wrong and when that happens we have to put our hands up and say sorry and learn from the experience, and that’s what we are doing.
“When I was interviewed for the job, one thing I made clear was that I wanted to involve the public in the future of hospital services.