Intended for healthcare professionals


MPs attack NHS for putting finances and targets ahead of patient safety

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 03 July 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b2706
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

    MPs have warned that England’s current patient safety policy has important failings. The government needs to act urgently to ensure that cases of bad care, such as happened at Mid-Staffordshire Foundation NHS Trust (BMJ 2009;338:b1141, doi:10.1136/bmj.b1141), are not repeated, they have said.

    The health select committee’s report on patient safety says that incidents are under-reported, largely because of the NHS’s persistent failure to eliminate the “blame culture.” It says that the government remains largely unsupportive of whistleblowers and that the Department of Health needs to improve this situation.

    The committee acknowledged that the government has undertaken a number of important steps to tackle safety, such as creating the National Patient Safety Agency. But it said that too often NHS boards pay more attention to governance, finances, and targets than to putting the safety of patients first.

    The committee’s chairman, Kevin Barron, said, “Our report highlights many areas where …

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