The newly appointed director of the national Patient Safety Campaign has said it is crucial that the drive is embraced by managers.

Luton and Dunstable Hospital foundation trust chief executive Stephen Ramsden was appointed campaign director last week. He will continue as chief executive and spend around two days a week on the campaign.

He told HSJ that efforts to deliver safer care would not work "unless you have a positive, passionate chief executive, leading it in partnership with very strong clinical leadership and ideally medical leadership".

"Clinical directors, team managers and project managers also need to show leadership at an operational level," he added.

The two-year campaign is a joint initiative by the National Patient Safety Agency, The Health Foundation and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.

It is being developed by a team of highly regarded NHS managers and clinicians and will initially focus on acute trusts. There will be a series of events for health service staff in the run-up to an official launch in July.

"The idea is to get the service to help us work out what the goals should be and how to involve people in that," Mr Ramsden said. "This is very much the service's campaign."

He said one aim was to create a mindset among all managers and staff that patient safety "was more important than anything else".

The campaign will draw together interventions that work, such as those tested in a Safer Patients Initiative pilot at Luton and Dunstable. This included senior managers going on "walkabouts" around the wards.

Changes in the way critically ill patients were managed, such as the introduction of early warning systems, helped cut the number who went into cardiac arrest.

The biggest task for the campaign would be to ensure the safety measures it identifies are brought in across the service, said Mr Ramsden. "One of the challenges for the NHS is to find methods of supporting implementation," he said.

Mr Ramsden hoped NHS organisations would sign up to the campaign before the summer launch.