1 April 2014

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced details of how NHS organisations are to be encouraged to work together to improve patient safety and save money.

Each NHS organisation will be invited to "Sign up to Safety" and set out publicly its plans for reducing avoidable harm, such as medication errors, blood clots and bed sores over the next three years.

The NHS Litigation Authority, which indemnifies trusts against law suits, has agreed to review the plans and, when approved, reduce the premiums paid by all hospitals successfully implementing them.

Every year the NHS spends as much as £1.3 billion on litigation claims.

"It is my clear ambition that the NHS should become the safest healthcare system anywhere in the world," Mr Hunt said. "I want the tragic events of Mid Staffs to become a turning point in the creation of a more open, compassionate and transparent culture within the NHS."

The Government will also introduce a Duty of Candour, "making openness and honesty the norm across all health and social care organisations". This will mean providers must notify the patient about incidents where "significant harm" has occurred and provide an apology.

Five thousand safety champions are to be recruited as local change agents, identifying where there is unsafe care and developing solutions to fix the problem.

Mr Hunt said that a dedicated section of the NHS Choices website will be launched in June called "How Safe is my Hospital". This online tool will give everyone the ability to compare hospitals in England across a range of patient safety indicators.