Monday, December 29, 2014

Watch Jeremy Hunt’s great keynote speech at the Health Foundation’s conference on safety.

Recently I searched for keynote speeches and found a hopeful, thoughtful, 22-minute one on YouTube that has been almost completely ignored. It is well worth watching - up there with any TED talk I can recall seeing. That speech was given by the Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt, the UK Secretary of State for Health, at a Health Foundation conference on safety in early December. He has been in charge of the National Health Service (NHS) since September of 2012.

His speech is about changing that huge organization (~1.3 million people) over to a learning culture that will eliminate avoidable death and harm. Near the beginning he says:

“But, I want to try and prove to you this morning that the biggest thing that’s happening in the NHS is actually something that the newspapers aren’t talking about at all.

There is a quiet revolution going on, in terms of attitudes to safety, which history will judge, I think, to be the moment where the NHS resolved and, in fact became the first healthcare system in the world to develop airline, oil industry, nuclear industry levels of safety.”  

There are no slick visuals here, neither videos nor PowerPoint animations. It’s just an experienced speaker engaging with an audience via stories and some humor.

Mid Staffs also is known as the Stafford Hospital Scandal, which is discussed in a Wikipedia article. BBC news has a time line for it.

You can download and read a 20-page book chapter titled Safety Crusade about the Virginia Mason Medical Center at the web site of the Washington State Hospital Association.

There also is a 20-minute presentation from that same conference by Professor Mary Dixon-Woods on Understanding the challenges of improving safety in clinical systems.

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