The new Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay has officially appointed Dr Henrietta Hughes OBE as England’s first ever Patient Safety Commissioner. The position is entirely independent and is designed to act as a voice for patients. Dr Hughes’ mission will be to ensure that the safety of medical devices and medicines is strictly maintained and improved.
As the voice of patients, she will assist Government in understanding how best to put patients first, promote patient safety, and ensure that the views of patients and the public are heard by those in authority. Dr Hughes will bring extensive experience related to patient care from her previous position as National Guardian for the NHS – where she cultivated an inclusive environment for staff.
The appointment of Dr Hughes is in response to Baroness Cumberlege’s 2020 review into patient safety, The First Do No Harm report. The 2020 report, which examined issues relating to Primodos, sodium valproate and pelvic mesh, was set up as a result of many women feeling that their problems had been ignored or dismissed. Therefore, it was recommended that an independent Patient Safety Commissioner position should be created to amplify patients’ voices and improve the safety of medicines and medical devices going forward.
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said, “Dr Henrietta Hughes brings a wealth of experience with her as the first ever Patient Safety Commissioner to improve the safety of medicines and medical devices and her work will help support NHS staff as we work hard to beat the COVID backlogs”.