Jeremy Hunt plans disclosure drive to reduce medical errors

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One in five hospitals are not taking patient safety seriously enough despite the Mid Staffs scandal, the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, will claim on Tuesday as he launches a drive to reduce medical errors.

In a new assessment exercise, all hospital trusts in England have been rated good, OK or poor for their openness and honesty in reporting and responding to breaches of patient safety.

While 17.7% were classed as good and 61.7% as OK, the other 20.6% received a red rating, denoting poor performance. Those ranked poor are reporting too few patient incidents or not reporting often enough, or staff feel the trust's response to mistakes has not been good enough.

The Department of Health has published the figures before the launch on Tuesday of a website – the first of its kind in the world – that will let patients and relatives see how well a hospital is doing on patient safety.

Hunt, who has already pledged to save 6,000 lives over the next three years by reducing avoidable harm to patients, will also announce the "sign up to safety" campaign for hospitals. Although the health secretary will praise the NHS for its safety record, he will demand greater efforts to reduce harm.

Today will also see the publication of the first data on nurse staffing levels in every ward of every hospital, a change agreed after the Mid Staffs scandal amid concern about widespread understaffing.

Jamie Reed, the shadow health minister, said it was "staggering hypocrisy" for ministers to talk about openness and transparency in the NHS when they continue to refuse to publish the official risk register covering the restructuring of the service in England last year. "Meanwhile, more than half of nurses now say their ward is dangerously understaffed, and more believe patient safety has got worse over the last year than better. And the government has slashed nurse training places, storing up a huge staffing crisis for the future," he said.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Denis Campbell, for The Guardian on Tuesday 24th June 2014 00.01 Europe/London

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