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Hunt: New regulator to oversee safe staffing work

The new health sector regulator, NHS Improvement, will oversee the review on safe staffing levels, Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, announced today.

The work will be carried out by Jane Cummings, NHS England's chief nursing officer and Mike Durkin, NHS England's Director of Patient Safety and overseen by the new regulator, which is created by the merger of Monitor and NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA).

This will then be independently reviewed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, and Sir Robert Francis.

Durkin will also set up a new patient safety investigation service, modelled on the Air Accident Investigation Branch used by the airline industry, to create a no-blame learning culture to reduce fatalities and costs.

Hunt also said that the NHS has been “dehumanised” and wants a “profound transformation” so the culture becomes “more human rather than patient-centric”. He added that there are round 800 avoidable deaths each month and that from next March avoidable deaths will be published by hospital trust.

He also announced that all five NHS trusts would partner with Virginia Mason hospital in Seattle, “possible the safest hospital in the world”, and said he looks forward to developing further international partnerships.