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Patient safety is not a ‘priority’ for NHSE claims watchdog chief

The outgoing chief investigator of the national safety watchdog has described his frustration with the organisation’s ‘ambivalent’ relationship with NHS England.

Keith Conradi, who is due to retire from the Health Safety Investigation Branch in July, said he did not think he had “ever really spoken to any of the hierarchy in NHS England”. He added “their priorities are elsewhere”.

In an interview with health commentator Roy Lilley for the Institute for Health and Social Care Management, Mr Conradi also described HSIB’s relationship with NHSE as “ambivalent”.

“It wobbled along that sort of line and got worse as time has gone on,” he said. “At the very start I had a chat with the permanent secretary of the Department of Health and said we would be better off in the department than NHS England. He disagreed and felt that we’d be too close to [then health secretary] Jeremy Hunt, and particularly at that time that would have a negative effect.”

Mr Conradi was also critical of the decision to ask HSIB to take on investigations into maternity care early in its life. He said he was “shocked” that it happened so quickly “when we hadn’t really got going”.

He continued: “We hadn’t developed a method of doing normal national investigations and suddenly we were being asked to do maternity ones. There was a huge amount of pressure to do this.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 28 June 2022


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