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Keogh Review: 'ostrich approach' not an option, says NHS Confederation

There is no place in the NHS for senior leaders to bury their heads in the sand and avoid difficult lessons, the NHS Confederation says. The health service must use the learning from the Keogh Mortality Review to face up to the problems and poor care which still exist in some parts of the NHS.

The Keogh Review, looking at mortality rates at 14 acute trusts which were identified as having higher rates than might have been expected over the past two years, is a welcome contribution to the NHS's determination to learn when, where and how it can improve the care it provides, according to NHS Confederation chief operating officer Matt Tee.

Mr Tee says everyone involved in the health service, from local leaders to senior managers, must use today's publication as a catalyst for change, rather than an opportunity to try to apportion blame at the expense of improving patient care.

Mr Tee said:

"Less than six months after publication of the Francis Report, we are experiencing another hugely challenging day for the NHS. Now more than ever, the NHS needs politicians to resist the temptation to descend into point scoring. It is crucial that we seize the opportunity offered by the Keogh Review to get under the skin of the NHS and shine light on its shortcomings but also recognises its successes.

"We know each of the NHS trusts has undergone a rigorous examination of its processes and practices as part of this Review and has identified an action plan for improvement. It is clear that clinicians and managers at these trusts will now need to be fully focused on delivering the agreed action plans.

"This review process is one part of a renewed commitment not only to ruthlessly examine and improve clinical performance, but to be wholly open and transparent about where we are now, where we need to be, and what progress we are making to get there."

Mr Tee stressed that in cases where the starting point for improvement falls far short of what needs to be delivered, NHS organisations must be open to additional external expertise which can help deliver the required improvements at the rapid pace necessary for the public to be confident in their local health service.

Mr Tee said:

"The organisations involved in the review process have welcomed the chance to focus the attention of the local health economy on what they can do immediately to improve the safe care of patients.

"It is absolutely crucial that we share the learning from these intensive reviews across the whole health service.

"The commitment to driving up clinical standards runs throughout the health service, but individual organisations will not always have all the answers, expertise or capacity to deliver the essential changes at the pace required. While we should never be prepared to outsource responsibility for improving patient care, we need to recognise that additional help and support for trusts in difficulty can make the journey faster."


Notes to Editors


The NHS Confederation represents all organisations that commission and provide NHS services. It is the only membership body to bring together and speak on behalf of the whole of the NHS. We help the NHS to guarantee high standards of care for patients and best value for taxpayers by representing our members and working together with our health and social care partners.

We make sense of the whole health system, influence health policy and deliver industry-wide support functions for the NHS.

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