Healthwatch England responds to the Keogh Review
The Keogh Review report released today clearly demonstrates there are broader problems in the NHS than those highlighted at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. There are some hospitals in the NHS that simply fail patients at the most basic level of keeping them safe and making them well.
We know there are many more hospitals that deliver excellent care but the failure of a few tarnishes the reputation of the whole system. Building trust and confidence in the standard of care and treatment in our hospitals in now an urgent task of those who plan, run and regulate the NHS.
In moving forward expressing outrage at the latest failure is no longer enough. The constant flow of negative stories is damaging. Consumers deserve a full and frank picture of any other existing problems across the country and critically they need to know what is being done to sort them out, and to have confidence they are the right solutions.
The report makes it very clear the best source of intelligence is always from those at the frontline – patients and staff. Patients and staff are everywhere, all the time. Managers and regulators are not.
There needs to be a profound change in how the NHS listens to the feedback, concerns and complaints of the patients. Listening properly and then taking action is all that needs to happen. It shouldn’t be difficult. The Care Quality Commission has a key role in making sure it invests properly in patient engagement – a hospital should only be judged as performing adequately if its patients think it is and there is evidence to confirm it. We look forward to working with them at a national and local level to see that this is happening.
Hospitals should see patients as part of the solution and not part of the problem. Local hospitals should be talking to their local Healthwatch to find out the best way to engage and listen to their patients about the full range of issues that impact on their care and treatment.
Healthwatch has played an active part in the Keogh review at a national and local level. Our role has been to see the issues raised through the eyes of the patient and to make sure the voice of the patient remained high on the agenda. Despite best intentions professionals and experts often get caught up in the complexities of a problem. This report shows again the overwhelming need to listen to the patient – to listen early and to listen hard.
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