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Professor Don Berwick - staffing levels and culture

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As I referred to in my blog yesterday, the second focal modification Professor Berwick has proposed within his report aims to tackle the ongoing problem of safe staffing levels in hospitals. The Professor has suggested that further literature is compiled by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to guide each hospital accordingly in an attempt to improve the standard of care delivered to each patient.

The report paints the picture that there is a need for an overhaul of the culture of the National Health Service as we know it.

Professor Don Berwick has stated "Our report focuses largely, on culture - a learning culture where the NHS becomes a place where everyone's curious about what's going on, how they're doing, how others are doing, what they can do to improve - that cultural piece is important."

The Report states, "Achieving a vastly safer NHS will depend far more on major cultural change than on a new regulatory regime.”

It is Professor Berwick’s intention that these cultural changes should filter through every level in the NHS and it should become a system dedicated to recurrent education, continual learning and a culture firmly rooted in improvement of patient care.

At Stephensons we encourage the proposals put forward by the Professor as this will inevitably assist with the standard of care offered to patients. However, these new guidelines to be published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence are not yet drafted and our concern is that in the meantime some patients will continue to suffer.

By Nicola Hamblett, clinical negligence solicitor