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Hospitals 'complacent' says Hunt

8th March 2013

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has accused a number of NHS hospitals of “coasting along.”

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He felt many were settling for meeting minimum standards amid a culture of “complacency” and “low aspirations” which he feared was holding the NHS in England back.

His comments follow the publication of the report into problems at Stafford Hospital, which was critical of the way the system protected corporate self-interest rather than putting patients first.

While investigations are already under way into 14 hospital trusts with high death rates, Mr Hunt believes a big challenge lies in tackling “mediocrity” within the health service.

In a speech to the Nuffield Trust think-tank, Mr Hunt said: “Coasting can kill. Not straight away, but over time as complacency sets in, organisations look inwards, standards drop and then suddenly something gives.

“I would never describe the majority of hospitals or wards in the NHS as mediocre - but I do believe our system fails to challenge low aspirations in too many parts of the system.”

The Patients Association welcomed Mr Hunt’s comments, adding that there is a “malaise in the NHS which has allowed mediocrity to become commonplace.”

The Royal College of Nursing said investment in staff was needed to avoid mediocrity.

 

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