How many reviews does the NHS need?

Files The Berwick Review is just the latest in a series of reports on the NHS

NHS reviews are getting a bit like buses. Miss one and you don't need to wait long for another to come round the corner.

A month ago there was the Cavendish Review into healthcare assistants, and then two weeks later the Keogh Review into mortality rates, which led to 11 trusts being put into special measures, was published.

Now it is Prof Don Berwick's review on patient safety.

All three were commissioned off the back of the Francis Inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal.

Once again, it has been met with the usual platitudes.

But there is also a sense that the time for talking is coming to an end: action is what is needed.

Responding to publication of the 45-page safety review, the Unison healthcare union said there was "no time to waste".

Meanwhile, the choice and empowerment organisation Patient Concern dismissed Prof Berwick's report as "long on what is needed but short on how its recommendations will be made to happen".

That may seem a little harsh. After all, Prof Berwick is perhaps the world's leading expert on patient safety.

Continuing confusion

But Patient Concern's exasperation is perhaps a sign that greater clarity is needed.

The Francis Inquiry made 290 recommendations. The three follow-up reports have brought that number to almost 500 and there is still a fourth, on complaints handling, to come.

And yet there is still confusion over what the government is doing on issues such as minimum staffing, criminalising neglect, improving nurse training and introducing a robust system of oversight for healthcare assistants.

It is true that there have been some changes. A chief inspector of hospitals has been appointed and a new inspection regime starts next month.

But after the flurry of reports and recommendations of recent months, the NHS will be after some clear direction from ministers once their holidays are over and Parliament resumes in September.

Nick Triggle Article written by Nick Triggle Nick Triggle Health correspondent

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  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    The problem of "Free at the point of need' is 'need' being a subjective term based on the 'patient'. The NHS should:
    1 Charge visitors to the UK for treatment
    2 Charge for narcissistic cosmetic surgery
    3 Have pharmacists in hospitals to decide if people need A&E and sell basic items e.g. aspirins, plasters

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    #206 Gary the NHS does NOT need more business managers or any more jobsworths administrators - it needs DOCTORS and NURSES who really care about their patients and their profession

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    Nothing to do with privatisation. All the problems started before privatisation - the viruses, the neglect, the "its not my job culture", the "its everyones responsibility therefore its not my responsibility - like cleanliness". This is about doing your job as a team and with individual responsibilities learning and improving.
    Annual reports should be done by independent external bodies not peers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 207.

    CAN a 'good society' have a 'bad health service'? No

    Can a 'bad society' have a 'good health service'? We tried

    What next?

  • rate this

    Comment number 206.

    The NHS is a constant state of review to make up for its woeful process driven and indecisive management. The NHS needs to employ more people with business acumen and customer service experience with analytical minds, innovative ideas and clear and robust decision making. The NHS needs to move away from stipulating previous NHS experience as an essential in 90% of its job adverts.


Comments 5 of 210


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