Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt talks patient safety on Farnham Road Hospital visit

On Friday 2nd February, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt visited wards at Farnham Road Hospital and spoke to staff about his aims to improve patient safety

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt MP visited our wards at Farnham Road Hospital in Guildford on Friday afternoon and met with our staff.

Mr Hunt is visiting NHS trusts across the country as part of a renewed focus on patient safety and a drive for greater transparency and culture change across the NHS.

After a tour of the new hospital, Mr Hunt met Dr Justin Wilson, our Chief Medical Officer, and Jonathan Warren, our Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive, and spoke to around 50 members of Trust staff on the topic of patient safety, drawing parallels between the airline industry and healthcare – and linking a dramatic fall in air passenger fatalities, despite record passenger numbers, to an open culture about reporting safety concerns.

The visit came as Mr Hunt earlier this week set out his ambition to cut the number of mental health inpatients taking their life each year from more than 80 to zero.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Mr Hunt said: "‎Surrey and Borders has provided excellent care to my constituents for many years. The Trust has a bold ambition to be the safest and best mental health trust in England, but after meeting staff I’ve no doubt they’re on the right path. Their work to move from a compliance culture to a safety culture is showing real results, and I can see they are committed to achieving our bold ambition of zero suicides in mental health trusts."

The purpose-built development at Farnham Road Hospital, which falls into Mr Hunt’s south west Surrey constituency, was opened in April 2016, and designed with safety in mind says Jonathan Warren, who is also our Trust’s lead for patient safety:

He said: “Someone in hospital for their mental health is at their most vulnerable and we must do all we can to protect them. We therefore welcome Mr Hunt’s drive to promote patient safety and prevent people from experiencing the far reaching and devastating impact of suicide.

“At Farnham Road we have strived to create a modern and therapeutic environment which supports people in their recovery in the least restrictive way possible.

“It is extremely rare for someone staying on our wards to lose their life and we are exploring how we can go further to realise the ambition of zero inpatient suicides in Surrey and north east Hampshire.”