Press Personal views

Blunders will never cease

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 03 March 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:563
  1. David Johnson, senior route check captain
  1. British Airways

    See pp 501, 517, 548, 562

    Bored and having been awake through jet lag from 3 am, I turned on the TV in my hotel room in Denver. I had arrived the day before and would that day leave for London: a routine trip for an airline pilot. A rather handsome man appeared on the screen. It was David Lawrence, chairman of Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, the largest non-profit healthcare organisation in the US, but he was speaking about aircraft crashes. He stated that in the United States from 1950 to 1990 commercial aviation fatalities fell from 1.19 to 0.27 per million departures—an 80% reduction in the face of a dramatic increase in the volume of air traffic. I forgot about breakfast and watched the speech.

    The experience of aviation shows that we can help the NHS understand safety problems

    Dr Lawrence made six points about standard aviation safety practice. These included statutory reporting procedures, a voluntary (without jeopardy) reporting culture, recurring statutory examinations, systems, …

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