The Berwick Report

Report entry in dictionary

06 / 8 / 2013 Midnight

On the publication of the Francis Report in February 2013, the Prime Minister David Cameron asked Professor Don Berwick, a leading expert in patient safety to look at what needs to be done "to make zero harm a reality in our NHS".

A promise to learn - a commitment to act identified a number of existing problems, actions and within the executive summary a key statement:

The most important single change in the NHS in response to this report would be for it to become, more than ever before, a system devoted to continual learning and improvement of patient care, top to bottom and end to end.

Professor Berwick lead a National Patient Safety Advisory Group, consisting of leading experts both from the UK and internationally, tasked with making recommendations on how to quickly and efficiently move a whole-system approach to make "zero harm" a reality.

Download the report including Executive Summary here.

Moving forward - what this means for employers

The Government issued its full response to the Francis Report on 19 November 2013 which is available in our dedicated section. It included acknowledgement of, and a response to the reviews carried out in the light of Francis.

Key implications for the workforce:

  1. The NHS is to take forward and make care safer for patients, developing a culture that is dedicated to learning and improvement, and that continually strives to reduce avoidable harm. NHS England will establish a new Patient Safety Collaborative Programme across England to spread best practice, build skills and capabilities in patient safety and improvement science. The programme will include establishing a Patient Safety Improvement Fellowship scheme to develop 5,000 Fellows within a national faculty within five years.
  2. The Department of Health has agreed with the nursing and medical Royal Colleges and clinical leaders that every hospital patient should have the name of the consultant and nurse responsible for their care above their beds.  The Government also intends to introduce a named accountable clinician for people receiving care outside hospitals, starting with vulnerable older people.
  3. Care Quality Commission (CQC) and NHS England will work to align patient safety measurement and develop a dedicated hospital safety website for the public which will draw together up to date information on patient safety factors, for which robust data is available.
  4. Trusts will continue to be encouraged to use NHS Safety Thermometer data collection to help inform improvements in some key patient safety areas.
  5. NHS England will begin to publish ‘never events’ data quarterly from November 2013, and then monthly before April 2014 to help trusts, patients and the public drive improvement of services.
  6. NHS England will re-launch the patient safety alerts system by the end of 2013 in a clearer framework to better understand and take rapid action in relation to patient safety risks.
  7. NHS England will establish new patient safety networks across England to spread best practice, build skills and capabilities in patient safety and to focus on actions that can make the biggest difference to their patients. 

Next steps 

We would like to hear from you if you have any thoughts and comments - please contact

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