Keep patients out of hospitals - they're dangerous, say GPs
But Cameron's health tsar is more positive, saying new culture can make NHS the world's safest
THE NHS has the potential to become the safest healthcare system in the world, claims David Cameron's new health tsar Don Berwick, but it will require a new "attitude or culture" where "even a single injury" is unacceptable.
Talking in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire scandal, in which as many as 1,200 people died because of substandard care, the American told the Daily Telegraph: "There is no reason why English health care cannot aspire to be and become the safest health care in the world."
But his comments come after GPs delivered an "extraordinary attack" on the standards of hospital care in Britain, according to The Times. In a letter to the paper, family doctors' leaders called for a "paradigm shift" in the way the health service is run in order to keep patients out of hospitals.
"Hospitals can be dangerous places," wrote doctors Chris Drinkwater and Michael Dixon, president and chairman of the NHS Alliance. "We must, as an immediate imperative, shift all non-urgent care from hospital into the community."
Dixon told the paper: "We need to work towards the point when acute hospital admissions should be regarded as a failure rather than a default position."
The NHS Alliance will now submit its recommendations to the new NHS Commissioning Board, led by Sir David Nicholson, who has come under fire for his handling of the Mid Staffordshire scandal.
However, David Cameron's latest appointment, Don Berwick, who helped push through the 'Obamacare' reforms in the US, said he hoped the Staffordshire experience could be used to "bring the NHS to higher levels of safety".
Berwick, who headed the Institute for Health Improvements in the US, said that he wanted to introduce the same kind of safety levels that are present in the aviation industry.
"Zero harm is morally and ethically the right way to go. Why should we tolerate a single injury?" he asked. ·