Skip to comments.Obama adviser to make ‘zero harm in the NHS a reality’, pledges PM
Posted on 02/06/2013 12:05:48 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
Don Berwick, the man who advised President Barack Obama on his health reforms, has been appointed to spearhead a zero harm agenda in the NHS, David Cameron has revealed.
The eye-catching appointment is potentially a substantial coup for the prime minister, who announced the move to the House of Commons this afternoon.
Mr Berwick previously advised Bill Clinton and is regarded as one of the worlds leading health advisers.
Mr Cameron told Parliament harm inflicted by hospitals on patients, such as hospital infections or bed sores, was unacceptable.
He said: Quality of care means not accepting that bed sores and hospital infections are somehow occupational hazards and a little bit of these things is somehow OK. It is not OK. They are unacceptable.
Thats what zero harm means. So I have asked Don Berwick who has advised President Obama on this issue to make zero harm a reality in our NHS.
The Department of Health told HSJ Mr Berwick would publish his findings in July but that further details on his brief were not yet available.
Mr Berwick was nominated by President Obama to take charge of Medicare and Medicaid in 2010 but stood down after substantial Republican opposition to his appointment. It is widely thought that he had become a symbol of everything Republicans disliked about President Obamas healthcare policies. One of his greatest perceived sins was speaking highly of the NHS.
Don Berwick: adviser to the presidents and Harvard alumni
Don Berwick was appointed by President Obama to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services − the US agency which run various health insurance programmes − as a recess appointment in 2010.
He left in December 2011 after the Republicans signaled they would block his confirmation.
His praise for the NHS was seen as one of the reasons he had become a become a symbol of all that Republicans disliked about Obamas healthcare policies.
Before advising Obama, he was president and chief executive officer of the well-regarded Institute for Healthcare Improvement where he spent nearly 20 years. He developed online courses for healthcare professionals for reducing C. difficile infections as one of many projects at the institute.
Other posts he has held include:
- Clinical professor of peadiatrics and healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School, and professor in the department of health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health.
- Vice chair of the US preventive services task force.
- The first independent member of the American Hospital Association board of trustees, and chair of the national advisory council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
- A member of President Clintons advisory commission on consumer protection and quality in the healthcare industry.
Increased insurance premiums for reduced coverage is harm enough for many Americans who are trying to scrape by in these inflationary times, often on less than they made back in the booming Bush years.
Cameron and the UK “conservatives” are very disappointing
A bigger question. Just exactly how is a no-treatment “Death Panel” decision “No Harm?”
Sorry, but it IS a reality. Only thing to do is reduce chances.
This pontificating on risks is like the old tired “if it saves just 1 life”, recently regurgitated by Uhbama again.
Value for money has become an old fashioned concept. But, it is the concept that all Conservatives live by.
If our employer can demand value for money spent on our salaries, why can't we as citizens, demand value for money from our health care provider.... or at the very LEAST an option to go ELSEWHERE if we are dissatisfied???
“O” has taken all our options away and replaced world class health care with mediocre and costly service... delivered entirely at the discretion of people accountable ONLY to the government and who compete with NO ONE and NOTHING in their delivery of service.
There is NO logic in THAT plan.
This guy is presented as a ‘world-class expert in health systems’ and thinks the UK’s National Health Service provides a good example of what good delivery of health care looks like? We truly live in a Bizarro world.
I thought UK was saying they have problems and this guy needs to advise how to fix. So I guess NHS is not perfect?
(PS As a chronic-disease sufferer who chats on fora all the time, I can tell you many in UK are not getting optimal care, even those who think they have it nice. I showed 1satisfied UK sufferer how he was oaying MORE than I for premium care here with the best insurance co. in the world in the center of the medical universe. And this guy had just been complaining about his treatment! Some foreign people have had horror stories about exactly what scares me most - waiting endlessly for doctors and procedures.)
I posted an article yesterday about not allowing Drs. to prescreen for prostrate and breast cancers. One of the arguments was the “no harm”, because if the prostrate test came back positive some of the treatments could cause you harm.
Nobody here or in the UK has ever said the NHS is perfect.
It has problems, it is neither perfect NOR the third world hellhole Americans think it is.
Waiting just to see any old regular doctor, or to have a colonoscopy, or get your surgery, is not a good thing.
When we abandon free market, soon shortages will appear and the whole world will have guaranteed shortages now for medicine and devices, not to mention personnel. Because there will be no back-up because the US has adopted the same foolishness. The sad thing is it will take decades before that really happens, and the gradual change will numb people to how bad it is.
Waiting?. Despite the myth, I and any Brit can see a doctor at short notice. If I phone my surgery at 8.30am opening, 9 times out of 10 I will see someone that day, if not that morning. Only if the surgery is swamped (for example during the winter if there’s a bad virus going around) would I possibly have to wait IF its a minor ailment. Anything that is serious or causes great pain will be seen immediately and put to the head of the list. And a GP on examination will send you straight to hospital if they think its serious enough.
Yes, there are waiting lists for hospital examinations, but again, if anything is serious, you will get seen very quickly. The idea that millions of Brits in terrible pain have to wait months for hospital examinations and tests is not true. Failures tend to come from doctors not picking up initial problems/symptoms at the GP level and not requesting a swift examination/test, rather than waiting times.
Surgery?. Again, its a myth that 62m Brits have to wait. Any life threatening/serious illness that requires surgery is done immediately. Waiting times exist for non-life threatening surgery.
I do agree that waiting times should always
As I said, the NHS DOES have its problems, some minor and some very major. But it is a good system overall that works, despite its flaws. Most of the doctors and nurses are superb. Most NHS care, despite the horror stories, is good, sometimes very good, sometimes superb.
Part of the problem is the NHS now in 2013 does healthcare that is not necessary, wasnt what the 1948 NHS was set up to do, and could be done privately. The NHS needs to get back to its main roots: treating the ill and sick, not IVF and boobjobs. Doctors and nurses and healthcare professionals, not pen pushers.
Making private healthcare even more affordable and widespread would imo lessen the NHS burden. If can go private, do it. If later, you are hit by the recession and cant afford private, then the NHS is there to deal with you. After all, you still fund it by your taxes. Taxbreaks for private healthcare.
In short, you’d use the NHS only when you had to, and that would leave the NHS for those who genuinely need it.
The NHS has saved the lives of both my parents. The NHS has never let my family down, we have had first class care from them always. I am an ex-NHS admin worker, and have used the NHS myself as an outpatient.
I am not at all blind to its faults, but equally I will defend it when I read myths about it or think the criticism is unwarranted. Americans are now convinced that the NHS is a hellhole. In fact, if most Americans used it, I think they’d be pleasantly surprised at how good it actually is.
They might find faults with it, but neither would they find it a third rate service.
Paragraph 4 should read:
‘I do agree that waiting times should always be kept as low as possible’.
I appreciate your thoughtful and informed comments.
Bear with me that I have just had my share of incidentally discussing with fellow digestive sufferers in the UK how they are faring. We will find them complaining that they cannot get their colonoscopy or their gastroparesis testing for 5 months to verify they don’t have big problems or to pin down their diagnosis. This while I can get it within the month. When my son had to have 2 hernia surgeries in a row (2nd problem cropped up in quick succession), he had each scheduled within the month (partly because child also have to have a physical before accepted for surgery).
Waiting causes advancing disease, and sometimes a real emergency or death.
The problem with these analyses of medical systems is you can’t prove a negative. The person might not have a problem anyway, or might have died at month 1 no matter what.
I’d rather reap the benefits of our freedom over the last mere century. We will continue to rest on the laurels of our past, and maintain equipment and even doctors for a while, but eventually the supply will dry up as those die off. That is why no one will really notice; there won ‘t be a rug pulled out from under us, per se. Babies now won’t know any better.
Hi, thanks for reply.
The NHS could be better, in some areas much better, but equally neither is it quite the dreadful system many Americans think it is.
Indeed it’s not as bad as all that. But the reason is likely because of the greatness of Britain. Unless you enact draconian measures which are not the nature of such a country, it can take a long time for such things to even suck themselves dry - the reason such systems don’t do as well in the long run. Where’s the money coming from?