No time to waste in turning Berwick recommendations into actions

The Berwick Review should act as a rallying cry to the Government, the NHS and to patients said UNISON, the UK’s largest health union today. The review calls on the Government to “place the quality and safety of patient care above all other aims for the NHS” and the union is calling for the necessary investment to make that happen.   

The Government should listen to the strong message in the Review that “fear is toxic” and stop running down the NHS and start turning the recommendations into action.

UNISON welcomed the link made in the Review between patient safety and enough staff, with the right mix of skills, for the number of patients being treated. Ensuring the delivery of quality care and patient safety is also linked to the need for continuous learning from top to bottom, which has too long suffered from under-investment warned the union.

Gail Adams, UNISON Head of Nursing, said:

“There are lessons to be learnt and there is no time to waste in turning the Review’s carefully considered recommendations, into positive action.

“It is heartening to see that the underlying message from Don Berwick on the future of the NHS is a positive one.  Staff will read this and believe that their voices have been heard.  We owe him a debt of gratitude in recognising the vital role that they play in delivering care to people at their most vulnerable.

 “We would add our voice to the Reviews concerns that ‘fear is toxic’. The Government must stop running down our NHS and undermining the confidence of staff and patients.  It must start listening and working with all parts of the NHS to reduce harm.

“We are pleased that the Review recognises the link between patient safety and having enough staff, with the right skills on the wards. There is safety in numbers when it comes to caring for patients and that means the Government putting in the investment to make that happen.  UNISON will continue its call for safe nurse to patient ratios to be introduced for the benefit of patients and staff.

“The Review is right to emphasise the importance of life-long learning as key to providing safe and professional care and the recognition that this should be top to bottom in the NHS.  For too long many staff have been ignored when it comes to getting access to continuous training to the detriment of the whole service.”

UNISON is committed to working with everyone to turn the recommendations in the Berwick Review into a reality across the NHS.