The NHS can be a ‘world leader’ in many areas of patient safety but only if it starts taking immediate action to improve, healthcare leaders have said in a report published by HSJ today.

The Case for Patient Safety: Financially, Professionally and Ethically, which was launched at the Patient Safety Congress event in Birmingham, features contributions from NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens and medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, and Care Quality Commission chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards.

It also includes work from Martin Bromiley, chair of the Clinical Human Factors Group and James Titcombe, national adviser on patient safety to the CQC.

Writing in the document, sponsored by Allocate Software, Mr Stevens says: “As the NHS has become more transparent, we’ve seen what needs to be done to improve patient safety. In key areas this has already produced huge gains – think, for example, about the dramatic reduction in hospital acquired infections.”

But he adds: “There’s a long list of clinical risks where, seen through the lens of patient safety, we have to act, and the NHS can be a world leader. There are still enormous gains to be had from improvements in areas such as sepsis and acute kidney injury. And one of the biggest threats facing all healthcare systems, anti-microbial resistance, needs to be comprehensively tackled as an emerging patient safety threat.”

He also says: “The NHS has got a lot to be proud of in the honest way we’ve begun squaring up to patient safety issues. As a result, care is measurably safer now than it was, say, three or four years ago. But our shared ambition has to be that in five years’ time it’ll be even better than it is today.”