Patient safety could slip during NHS reform, says RCGP

A focus on patient safety could be lost during the NHS reforms as staff concentrate on reducing costs, the RCGP chairwoman has said.

Dr Gerada: patient safety should not be put on the ‘back burner’ during the reforms
Dr Gerada: patient safety should not be put on the ‘back burner’ during the reforms

Speaking at a patient safety conference in London, Dr Clare Gerada said patient safety should not be put on the ‘back burner’ during the reforms. She warned that patient safety may be seen as less important as other priorities and pressures arise during the reforms.

‘It would be a cruel irony that we allowed the NHS to become so obsessed with reducing costs that we lose sight of the very purpose of spending NHS resources, which is to provide excellent care for patients in need,' she said.

Dr Gerada also said that most patient safety issues are a result of transition from one system to another, rather than because of staff negligence.

‘With the concept of any willing provider it appears that transitions will become part of the fabric of healthcare in the future,' she said. 'It’s vital therefore that in shifting the building blocks of the NHS we do not create gaps through which growing numbers of patients can fall.’

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