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Speaking one month before starting the job as the first ever patient safety commissioner – and also a month before her speech at Patient Safety Congress – Henrietta Hughes is clear that her role, although focused on medicines and medical devices, is to “champion” the patient voice in a wider sense.

Dr Hughes stressed that “there’s a huge amount we can take from this into the wider patient safety arena and described how she wants to focus not just on legislative change but on things that “should happen”, such as more accessible medicines leaflets in pill boxes.

She also called for a single system to report safety and medicine concerns, arguing it would “keep people safer” and would be preferred by “exhausted” clinicians who are facing a bewildering choice when looking to raise a safety concern.  

Dr Hughes – although optimistic about the NHS responding positively to change, after her experience working as the first national guardian – said she wanted to see patients involved more in safety investigations, describing the current situation as not being good enough.

But will a small and “nimble” team be enough to make these cultural changes, thoroughly investigate concerns or provide patients with the “warm handover” Dr Hughes described in her pre-appointment questioning by the health and care select committee? As she told HSJ, this is uncharted territory.

EPR repercussions not ending any time soon

Cancer performance is likely to be hit for at least the rest of 2022 at a trust which is struggling with a new electronic patient record.

Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Foundation Trust’s EPR – supplied by Oracle Cerner – is now “functioning safely, efficiently and as effectively as possible” after running into a raft of problems since go-live in May.

But July’s board meeting heard: “It is expected that the impact of the introduction of SSC [Surrey Safe Care, the name of the project] will be felt in aspects of our cancer performance until at least December 2022.”

The performance report warned the risk of delays causing harm to cancer patients – currently rated at 12 on the risk register – was being reviewed as a result of the introduction of SSC and was expected to rise. HSJ understands it is currently still 12.

Also on today

In West Country Chronicle, Nick Carding looks at the unwanted national first achieved by three ICBs across the South West last month, and in our weekly round-up of health news across the media, The Primer reports on Liz Truss’s swipe at NHS management tiers.