Your cover story identified a disparity between where NHS staff and leaders feel patient safety is on boards' priorities, writes Martin Fletcher

There is no doubt that without strong and visible leadership we will not succeed in improving the safety of patient care.

I am heartened by the growing number of organisations across the country in which boards, chief executives and senior clinical leaders have recognised and acted upon a commitment to make care as safe as possible as soon as possible.

We have to be realistic. There are no quick wins or magic bullets. We know from the experience of other high risk industries that reducing risks and improving safety requires sustained effort and continued vigilance by all.

Reporting and learning systems at both local and national level have a key role to play. If we don't know where the serious risks are, we cannot set priorities and take action. But the response system is always more important than the reporting system.

That is why the National Patient Safety Agency, in close partnership with local NHS organisations, is leaving no stone unturned to promote rapid reporting, analysis and actionable learning through the national reporting and learning system.

Together we can make a difference.

Martin Fletcher, chief executive, National Patient Safety Agency