The health secretary Jeremy Hunt received a ‘Humanitarian Award’ at the 6th Annual World Patient Safety, Science and Technology Summit in recognition in of his work to reduce preventable deaths in the NHS.
The award, presented at the summit which the department of health helped organise, recognises people who have made a significant contribution to patient safety by eliminating preventable deaths. The Patient Safety Foundation has a goal of stopping all preventable deaths by 2020.
Previous winners of the award include former US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for their work on the Affordable Care Act in the USA.
Founder of the Patient Saftety Foundation, Joe Kiani, said: ‘Since 2013, Jeremy Hunt has worked tirelessly to improve patient safety and develop a culture of openness and transparency in the National Health Service.’
Mr Hunt joked that it was not him, but in fact Mr Kiani, who should have received the award for his work in setting up the foundation, before going on to say that he was ‘incredibly humbled’ to accept it and that the improvements in patient safety had been a ‘team effort’ between various professions in the health service.
‘All our patient safety progress is down to tenacious campaigners who have lost loved ones & turned personal tragedy into a mission to save others,’ he tweeted.
Mr Hunt used the 3-day summit to announce multiple initiatives to improve patient safety, such as an increased focus on drug errors in prescribing and plans to improve transparency in the health service to enable doctors and nurse to speak up when mistakes are made.
Mr Hunt has recently seen his brief expanded to include the social care remit and will soon become the longest serving health secretary if he remains in his post until summer.
Mr Kiani said: 'Under Secretary Hunt’s leadership – the NHS in England became the first healthcare system to report and publish the number of preventable deaths by individual hospitals on a quarterly basis – and then publish key learning and improvements made to eliminate preventable deaths on an annual basis.
‘His work in implementing independent investigations of medical errors include elements of the CANDOR program as developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) which has been proven to reduce serious patient safety events by about 65%.’