RCN: patient safety must be at heart of NHS

Published: 21 June 2013

The Royal College of Nursing has said greater openness and transparency in the NHS is vital for patient safety. Chief Executive & General Secretary Dr Peter Carter was responding to a speech made by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt today in which calls were made for a change in culture to reduce errors and injuries. “This is something we fully support,” Dr Carter said.

“It is absolutely vital that patient safety is put at the centre of everything the NHS does, and we are continuing to work alongside other Royal Colleges to develop accreditation and drive up standards. We agree that developing a culture of transparency must be a priority. This will help raise standards and will also encourage frontline staff to speak out when the system is preventing them from delivering the best possible care to patients.”

The RCN welcomes the concept of a “responsible nurse” for each patient and a move towards a more patient-focused approach. However, the College urged caution towards a one-size-fits-all approach. “Every care setting is different and for this to work effectively it must be something which is carefully implemented, and supported by the right staffing levels,” Dr Carter stressed.