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Simple: every single change must put the patient first

December 11, 2011

From Don Berwick, a great man and one I’ve had the privilege to work with:

Put the patient first. Every single deed – every single change – should protect, preserve, and enhance the well-being of the people who need us. That way – and only that way – we will know waste when we see it.

The above is from his excellent speech this week about healthcare change – the challenges and massive opportunities. Dr Berwick was talking about the US system, however the above point is of course totally perfect as the benchmark to judge and view the current changes in UK health and social care.

But more than using it as a tool for discussion and debate about political and organisational change, the four words in bold above should be the first thing that every doctor and nurse thinks at the beginning of each working day, and the phrase that starts each board meeting in every NHS Trust.



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