How many reviews does the NHS need?

Files The Berwick Review is just the latest in a series of reports on the NHS

NHS reviews are getting a bit like buses. Miss one and you don't need to wait long for another to come round the corner.

A month ago there was the Cavendish Review into healthcare assistants, and then two weeks later the Keogh Review into mortality rates, which led to 11 trusts being put into special measures, was published.

Now it is Prof Don Berwick's review on patient safety.

All three were commissioned off the back of the Francis Inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal.

Once again, it has been met with the usual platitudes.

But there is also a sense that the time for talking is coming to an end: action is what is needed.

Responding to publication of the 45-page safety review, the Unison healthcare union said there was "no time to waste".

Meanwhile, the choice and empowerment organisation Patient Concern dismissed Prof Berwick's report as "long on what is needed but short on how its recommendations will be made to happen".

That may seem a little harsh. After all, Prof Berwick is perhaps the world's leading expert on patient safety.

Continuing confusion

But Patient Concern's exasperation is perhaps a sign that greater clarity is needed.

The Francis Inquiry made 290 recommendations. The three follow-up reports have brought that number to almost 500 and there is still a fourth, on complaints handling, to come.

And yet there is still confusion over what the government is doing on issues such as minimum staffing, criminalising neglect, improving nurse training and introducing a robust system of oversight for healthcare assistants.

It is true that there have been some changes. A chief inspector of hospitals has been appointed and a new inspection regime starts next month.

But after the flurry of reports and recommendations of recent months, the NHS will be after some clear direction from ministers once their holidays are over and Parliament resumes in September.

Nick Triggle Article written by Nick Triggle Nick Triggle Health correspondent

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  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    They will never end, it's a circular scam system set up by the big 4 where they produce reports to say whatever the govt wants and in exchange they get all our money & staff on the inside who can get involved in setting up tax legislation so they know how to avoid it.

    PWC produced the report saying Staffordshire were fine and still got commissioned for the investigation into why it wasnt!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Toothless reviews will do nothing except cost money.
    We need reviews which fairly point out culprits and sack them, starting with the managers who allowed it to happen.
    A few criminal charges too would help to prevent wilful neglect in the future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    When will we get a review / enquiry report the recommendations of which are costed?

    If only taxpayers knew how much of the NHS budget, just for example, is spent on more and more admin in response to review / enquiry recommendations.

    They may be good ideas, but are they worth their cost? We can never judge that, because they're never costed in the reports.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    "How many reviews does the NHS need?"

    That's easy, enough for the government to justify privatisation of the NHS.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    The Govt is nothing if not PR savvy. We have had a torrent of NHS bad news - just as we did with schools, for example - so that the Tory 'answer' appears to be right. Figures/findings from reviews are spun, eg Hunt's disgraceful manipulation of Bruce Keogh's report, so that the impression of the NHS is of a place of danger. What an insult to NHS employees - and all in the name of money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Managers, Consultants, Doctors, Nurses and all health care workers need to be made to understand that they are accountable for their actions and that if they make mistakes, disciplinary action will be taken against them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    This dog of a Government (who are so utterly incompetent they even managed to upset their own supporters when they talked of their plans to give money to working families.....!!!!!) are driven by an ideology to rape & pillage the economy for their own & their friends' interests.....

    .....stand firm against these attempts to privatise the NHS..... just needs funding PROPERLY.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Every day the government announces yet another NHS "failing". It's all an attempt to soften us up for the prospect of NHS privatisation (which in any case has already started).

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    If the government keep moving the goal posts then how can anyone do a proper job. Instead of keep trying to change how it works fix the problems in the current system. A simple answer is more staff on wards, less working hours and good pay. You will find the right people to do the job. Would cost no more that what they are wasting on reviews and other bureaucracy. No will want to do the job soon.

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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