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Johnson unveils new measures to improve patient safety

28 November 2007

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Health Secretary Alan Johnson has outlined new measures to improve patient safety and public health.

He was opening a debate on the new Health and Social Care Bill which aims to enhance professional regulation and strengthen responses to infectious disease and contamination.

It would create an integrated health and adult social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission, with tough powers to inspect and intervene where hospitals are not meeting safety and quality requirements, including hygiene standards.

A new independent adjudicator would also be established which would make decisions about whether individual professionals should remain in practice with “responsible officers” overseeing the conduct and performance of doctors at a local level. Some of these proposals arise from the Shipman Inquiry.

Mr Johnson told MPs: “The Health and Social Care Bill will deliver a range of measures to assure the levels of quality and safe care that all patients and care service users have a right to expect.

“It will also introduce legislation that updates our current health protection powers to make them fit for purpose in the modern age.”

Health minister Ben Bradshaw said the Bill would continue the steady progress in the NHS seen under Labour.

He said: “This Bill will build on these achievements – fewer quangos, not more, less bureaucracy, not more, better safety and better quality, more transparency and real accountability – a health service fit for the aspirations of British people.”

Department of Health

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