It is now 6 months since the Keogh review which led to 11 hospitals being placed in special measures. Since that time 3 others have also been placed in special measures, taking the total to 14. This process has been tough, but I think there are real signs that the lessons of Mid Staffs are being embraced in a very positive way.
Last week I visited one special measures hospital, Goole. I was deeply struck by the determination of frontline staff to turn things around, and their real commitment both to the hospital and their patients.
They said the Keogh process had allowed them to make changes that they’d wanted for a long time, to get to the bottom of problems quickly and openly, and to make real progress in improving patient care and safety. I also saw a knee operation for the first time, which as a non-clinician was incredibly impressive despite the blood and gore.
I know it hasn’t been easy for staff in these hospitals and in this message I want to thank each and every person working in special measures hospitals for your dedication to turning the NHS into the worldwide beacon for safe and compassionate care which I know it can be. Names above beds in hospitals, named accountable GPs and safe staffing levels all have a key role to play in this.
But it is not an easy journey and so thank you for what you are doing for our NHS over a busy winter as we address a number of long term challenges.