Bristol hospital report puts training at top of agenda

HR professionals in the NHS have backed the Bristol Royal Infirmary
inquiry’s findings released last week that call for continuous professional
learning and development for all medical staff.

Inquiry chairman Professor Ian Kennedy said up to 35 babies died
unnecessarily at the infirmary between 1991 and 1995 as a result of
sub-standard care. The report criticised the "club culture" among the
surgeons, who justified high death rates by claiming they were on a learning

The inquiry took two-and-a-half years to complete, and recommendations
include a greater priority being placed on education, the development of
teamwork and extending shared learning across professional boundaries.

Ian Stone, HR director for organisational development and change at Avon
Health Authority, said, "I back the report’s findings 100 per cent.
Continuous development for all staff is the only way to have a safe,
consistently improving organisation."

Stone was the HR director of the Bristol Royal Infirmary during the period
in question. He said, "The culture of the NHS needs to change. Surgeons
need to be able to feel they can admit to mistakes in an open and safe culture.

"HR has the responsibility to make sure that all staff at all levels
are developing and learning, no matter how senior."

John Adsett, secretary of Association of Healthcare Human Resource
Management, said, "We aim to keep all our theatre teams together so they
can specialise in operations and share their skills and knowledge."

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