Last week I was lucky enough to attend the inaugural Patient Safety Learning Conference at The King’s Fund in London. Patient Safety Learning is an organisation borne a year ago, out of the frustration of seeing the same themes emerge time and again in healthcare systems around the world.

The event brought together healthcare professionals, patients, leaders and patient safety experts to share experiences, learning and latest thinking. Speakers included: global leader in public health and health care quality and safety – Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, Chairman of the Morecambe Bay Investigation – Dr Bill Kirkup CBE, and HSIB Chief Investigator – Keith Conradi.

To help celebrate this culture of learning Peter Walsh, Chief executive of AvMA, presented a number of Patient Safety Learning Awards to people making hugely important advances in this area. The afternoon’s talks concluded with a surprise address from the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock who ended by saying “I want the NHS to rise to the challenge of being the safest health system in the world”. His full address can be read here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/patient-safety-no-room-for-complacency

Every speaker was fascinating but the stand out for me was the moving story from Margaret Murphy about the tragic events leading to the death of her son Kevin in 1999.  Sadly the shortcomings identified then are said to be as relevant today.

During the afternoon, patient safety campaigner James Titcombe OBE together with Helen Hughes Patient Safety Learning Consultant presented the Patient Safety Learning Green Paper. They will be consulting widely on this until the end of November, listening to patients, healthcare professionals, academics, leaders and policy makers. This feedback will then be used to develop a White Paper to inform their work and, they hope, bring about much-needed change.