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Northumbria tops new national NHS league for outstanding levels of openness and transparency

Wednesday, 09 March, 2016
Northumbria tops new national NHS league for outstanding levels of openness and transparency
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has today been named by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt as the most open and transparent organisation in the NHS in England. 
Announced at the first-ever ministerial-level Global Patient Safety Summit being held in London, the new national league table identifies the levels of openness and transparency in all NHS provider organisations and aims to help build positive learning cultures and a safer service for patients.
When benchmarked against 230 NHS trusts, Northumbria Healthcare is ranked as the very best when it comes to the levels of openness and transparency which exist amongst the Trust’s 9,500 workforce and across its multiple hospital and community sites.  
Based on data from the 2015 NHS staff survey, Northumbria was rated as the most outstanding NHS organisation for:
  staff confidence and security in reporting unsafe clinical practice 
  fairness and effectiveness of procedures for reporting errors, near misses and incidents 
  percentage of staff able to contribute towards improvements at work.
The new annual ‘Learning from Mistakes League’ which has been launched by Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) forms part of ambitious national plans to improve patient safety and transparency across the NHS.
Dr Jeremy Rushmer, medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Patient safety must always be at the heart of everything we do, every second of every single day in the NHS.  I am immensely proud that Northumbria has been recognised for the high levels of openness, honesty and trust that we have embedded as part of our culture which mean our staff feel confident and able to raise any concerns they may have about patient safety or care.
“We have worked very hard to create this positive culture which is founded on strong clinical leadership, mutual respect and our staff being open and accountable at all levels across the organisation.  Our focus is always, quite simply, on what’s best for our patients and this allows us to openly discuss any quality issues or challenges and how we can collectively solve them.”
Mr David Evans, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “For over ten years, we have placed a very strong focus on developing a good leadership culture and creating an environment where every single member of staff, regardless of their role, feels empowered, to take responsibility and accountability for the delivery of safe, high quality care for patients. 
“This starts with making sure we understand why things go wrong so that we can truly learn from incidents, make appropriate changes and, crucially, be open and honest with patients, families and our teams throughout our learning.”
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is one of only three NHS organisations across England that is helping to spearhead the development of positive cultures and leadership capability across the NHS.  
Working with NHS Improvement and the King’s Fund, the Trust will help develop a programme designed to support other NHS organisations nationwide to create and embed cultures which allow safe, high quality and compassionate patient care to flourish.
Ann Stringer, executive director of human resources and organisational development at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Developing positive cultures in which staff can thrive is a real priority across the NHS as we know this can have a direct impact on quality of care – there is a very clear and proven link between engaged staff and positive patient outcomes. 
“For several years we have focussed on creating an open and supportive culture where our teams feel their role makes a real difference to patients and are empowered to make changes.  By embedding our core values, each and every member of staff is encouraged to continually strive to make improvements to patient care and the board are fully committed to supporting them in any way we can.” 
Speaking at the Global Patient Safety Summit today, Jeremy Hunt also outlined a range of other new measures to improve patient safety in the NHS as well as the new national learning league table.  These include:  
  Changes to guidance by the General Medical Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council so that when NHS staff  are honest about mistakes and apologise, a professional tribunal gives them credit for that, just as failing to do so is likely to incur a serious sanction
  NHS Improvement (which will bring together Monitor, the NHS TDA, the National Reporting and Learning System and the Patient Safety Team) will ask all Trusts to publish a Charter for Openness and Transparency so staff can have clear expectations of how they will be treated if they witness clinical errors
  NHS England will work with the Royal College of Physicians to develop a standardised method for reviewing the records of patients who have died in hospital; and 
  England will become the first country in the world to publish estimates by every hospital trust of their own – non-comparable – avoidable mortality rates.