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NHS working to change culture of denial, says David Nicholson

26 June 2013

Sir David Nicholson believes the NHS has recognised the need to change the way it responds to complaints from patients.

Giving evidence to the public administration committee, he admitted that a culture of denial and "defensiveness" existed within the management of the health service and led to serious failings.

Sir David, who will step down in 2014 after seven years as chief executive of the NHS in England, suggested this culture became pervasive among senior figures due to concerns over the "medical litigation culture" and a desire for "reputation management".

In comments reported by BBC News, he said a "dramatic" transformation in the way the NHS communicates with patients and publishes data is now underway. However, he also claimed that some leaders are having difficulty "coming to terms" with this shift in approach.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has accused NHS managers of being too defensive in the wake of the high-profile scandals involving the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and the Care Quality Commission.

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Categories: Healthcare, Public Sector

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