The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.

“If you ignore this, you will not be forgiven.”

Those were the words of warning to the government and NHS from Baroness Julia Cumberlege, whose report published today has highlighted systemic failings in how the health service is responding to concerns.

The report found current safety reporting systems are failing to serve patients’ interests, and described a culture of “denial” and “resistance to no-blame learning” when mistakes happen.

It is a culture which Baroness Cumberledge said “really needs a shake-up”. Her report spoke to hundreds of women who suffered avoidable harm from surgical mesh implants, pregnancy tests and an anti-epileptic drug. 

The Conservative peer also said she was “surprised” the government had made its major budget statement for the same day, despite scheduling her report “three or four weeks ago”.

On Boris’s doorstep

Infection risk is now a major headache for hospital bosses, as demonstrated by Hillingdon Hospital having to shut its emergency department to new admissions.

At least 70 members of staff are now having to self-isolate, after some of them tested positive for covid-19. The accident and emergency department has been placed on formal “divert” to other hospitals in the north of the city.

Hillingdon is one of the most high-profile hospitals in the country at the moment, given its location within prime minister Boris Johnson’s constituency and the fact it needs a major rebuild.

The state of the current infrastructure probably doesn’t help reduce infection risks.