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Feature BMJ Group Improving Health Awards: Improvement in Patient Safety

Patient safety: where nothing is unavoidable

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 21 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2160
  1. Anne Gulland, freelance journalist
  1. 1London
  1. annecgulland{at}

Anne Gulland finds common characteristics among the nominees for the 2012 patient safety award

A refusal to accept the status quo characterises all the teams shortlisted in this new category. Making sustained improvements to patient safety requires determination, a willingness to accept new ideas, and hard work in the face of setbacks. The shortlisted entries all showed these qualities in abundance.

NHS London

Shaking up services is never popular with patients and politicians, and in the face of opposition on every side NHS London set itself the ambitious task of reconfiguring the capital’s stroke services. A new model of care was launched in July 2010 with the unveiling of eight hyper acute stroke units serving the whole capital, supported by 24 local stroke units.

NHS London believes that the reconfiguration will save 400 lives a year, and figures show that since July 2010 there has been a 26% reduction in mortality in the three months after a stroke.

Ruth Carnall, chief executive of NHS London, says the programme had “huge ambition,” and she believes that others can learn a lot from the London experience, especially the financial incentives that were offered to providers that hit their targets.

NHS London has since set up centralised …

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