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Health secretary visits Hexham hospital

Wednesday, 04 October, 2017
Health secretary visits Hexham hospital

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt visited Hexham General Hospital last week to hear about work to further improve patient safety and quality of care.

Mr Hunt met staff and learnt about the range of initiatives in place as part of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s continuous focus on quality improvement and openness and transparency.

Known as the ‘Northumbria Way’, the trust places great emphasis on listening to the views of patients and staff and creating a culture which encourages the reporting of all incidents. As a result, the trust is seen as one of the most open and transparent organisations in the whole NHS.

Mr Hunt held a question and answer session with staff and also met Northumbria’s ‘freedom to speak up guardian’ Kirsty Dickson – an independent role set up nationally to support staff at NHS trusts to raise genuine concerns safely and freely – and chairman Alan Richardson.

The visit was part of a tour of trusts in the North East, where Mr Hunt talked about the need to have the right number of doctors and nurses to improve patient care. He also outlined the need for transparency, openness and sharing of information and best practice between trusts across the country.

Mr Hunt was accompanied by Jim Mackey, chief executive of NHS Improvement, who is to return to Northumbria Healthcare as its chief executive in November, and Dr Mike Durkin, who recently retired from his role as National Director of Patient Safety at NHS Improvement.

Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt said: “It was fantastic to meet staff at Hexham General Hospital and hear about the innovative work taking place to improve patient safety and care. In particular, the Northumbria Way initiative is an outstanding example of openness and transparency, that has enabled the trust to create a culture that others can learn from.”

Alan Richardson, chairman of Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Secretary of State for Health to Hexham General Hospital to meet members of our staff.

“In all that we do we are committed to improving patient safety and the quality of the care we deliver and we were extremely pleased to be able to share with him what we are doing, such as our work to raise awareness, and timely treatment, of sepsis.

“We are extremely proud of the culture we have embedded over many years to ensure our staff feel confident and supported to raise concerns, with Kirsty’s appointment as ‘freedom to speak up guardian’ only strengthening this over the last year.”