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Health secretary Jeremy Hunt praises Barking and Dagenham’s hospital trust staff during flying visit

PUBLISHED: 10:00 12 December 2017

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt speaking to members of BHRUT staff at Queen's Hospital on Friday. Photo: BHRUT

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt speaking to members of BHRUT staff at Queen's Hospital on Friday. Photo: BHRUT

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Health secretary Jeremy Hunt paid a flying visit to Barking and Dagenham’s hospital trust on Friday (December 8) to hear how staff have been pioneering improvements to patient safety.

Mr Hunt was accompanied by NHS England’s National Medical Director, Sir Bruce Keogh, on a visit to the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital Trust at Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford.

The health secretary particularly praised the introduction of Patient Safety Summits – where staff of all levels come together after an incident involving patient care to discuss what went wrong and what can be learned, with a patient partner also joining the discussion.

He said: “After welcoming the trust out of special measures last year it was great to see first-hand just how far they have come on their journey of culture change.

“They make every effort to empower staff to be open and transparent when things go wrong, and involve patients in their learning, a fantastic and innovative approach I haven’t seen before and will certainly aim to share across the NHS.”

At Queen’s Hospital, Mr Hunt and Sir Bruce heard how the trust had gone from the bottom 20pc in the country for reporting incidents and near misses, to the top 20pc, achieved by giving staff the confidence to speak up.

Chief nurse Kathryn Halford told how this shows the trust is recognising where risks are and doing something about it.

In a session attended by more than 100 members of staff, Mr Hunt talked about how patient safety was his passion, and about his aim to make the NHS the safest and highest quality health service in the world.

He also thanked trust staff for their brilliant work.

There was also the chance to ask Mr Hunt and Sir Bruce questions, with funding for the NHS inevitably coming up.

Mr Hunt said that while he wants as much money as he can for the NHS, he must operate within the economic context.

Matthew Hopkins, BHRUT chief executive, said: “We were really pleased to welcome Mr Hunt and Sir Bruce to our trust, and have the opportunity to share our improvements to make care safer for our patients.”

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