“Best example of a learning culture anywhere in the NHS”

Friday February 2, 2018

The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, visited Western Sussex Hospitals in February to speak about the Department of Health’s ambition to make the NHS the safest health service in the world.

Colleagues from a broad range of teams and departments gathered in the education centre in Worthing Hospital to hear from Mr Hunt and his invited guest speaker Martin Bromiley.

Mr Bromiley is a pilot who, since the death of his wife in 2005 following an elective surgical procedure, has been campaigning to shift the NHS away from a culture of blame to become more of a learning organisation not afraid to openly confront issues and continuously improve safety.

He said: “We need to get to a point where when something goes wrong, the first question we ask isn’t ‘whose fault was that’, and instead, ‘why did that make sense at the time?’”

Mr Hunt says he wants the NHS to be the world’s greatest learning organisation and paid tribute to Western Sussex and its staff for our leading approach.

He said: “Western Sussex is the best example of a learning culture that I have seen anywhere in the NHS.”

During his presentation, which Mr Hunt has been giving in person to NHS trusts and their staff across the country, he compared the NHS with other “safety-critical” industries that have transformed the way in which they deliver services with safety always at the heart of operational concerns.

Foremost amongst these comparisons is the commercial airline industry where the number of travellers has exponentially increased in recent years while at the same time non-safe incidents have dramatically fallen, culminating in 2017 being the safest year on record for airline passengers.

Dr George Findlay, the trust’s chief medical officer agreed and spoke about our Patient First programme and its focused, data-led approach to continuously improving the safe and quality of the care our patients receive.

He said: “We know the demands on our services are greater than ever and our staff deserve huge praise for their commitment, skill and resilience. There are small improvements being made across our hospitals every day, which all contribute to significant advances in the care we provide.”

Following the talks, staff were invited to ask the Health Secretary questions with recruitment and funding raised as the most common concerns.

Mr Hunt said he recognised the challenges and wished to put the NHS on a firmer footing in the future by securing longer term 10 year funding plans. He added they were committed to training more doctors and nurses in the UK and providing increased funding when economic growth enabled it.

Following his brief visit to Worthing Hospital, Mr Hunt’s party visited Sussex Partnership’s Mill View hospital in Hove and Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

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