NHS can learn from Mid Staffs by peeling back West Herts’ Onion

Chief executive of West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust Samantha Jones.

Chief executive of West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust Samantha Jones.

A brainwave from West Herts hospitals’ top dog has been highlighted by the government in its response to a public inquiry into the high-profile failures of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.

The ‘Operation Onion’ strategy introduced by hospitals chief executive Samantha Jones has been saluted by the government as an example of the best practice in preventing problems and delivering safe care to patients, following a report by Robert Francis QC into poor standards of care and high death rates at the infamous Midlands hospital.

West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust chief Mrs Jones said: “This is an excellent achievement, especially as ‘Onion’ is still new. As a Trust, we are – like hospitals across the NHS – absolutely committed to learning from the failings at Mid Staffordshire.

“This will help ensure our patients and local people, as well as staff and volunteers, have confidence in the way that we work. It will also help restore public faith in the NHS which may have been lost as a result of Mid Staffordshire.”

The Onion initiative aims to peel back the layers of hospital care and put patients first. The Trust will now develop an action plan for implementing national changes suggested by the inquiry and government response.

Mrs Jones said: “I have reminded all staff of the absolute duty to ensure patients receive the very best care and to take responsibility for dealing with, and addressing, any concerns they may have. They must never ignore their concerns or think they are for someone else to deal with.”

Earlier this year, Mrs Jones ordered copies of the book From Ward to Whitehall by Mid Staffs whistleblower Julie Bailey and encouraged all staff at the three West Herts sites to read it.

Changes on the cards include publishing staffing levels on a ward-by-ward basis in hospitals and a new care certificate to ensure good personal care for patients.




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