Unions are considering strike action after the Government refused to give an across the board 1% pay rise in the NHS.
Measures unveiled in wake of Mid-Staffs scandal
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has outlined the Government's plans to implement the recommendations of the Francis report.
Jeremy Hunt has compared the Mid Staffs scandal to Chernobyl and the Bhopal gas disaster in an interview with ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener.
The Health Secretary said the accidents - both of which killed thousands and left many more injured - were "turning points" for their industries.
He said he hoped Mid Staffs would mark a similar change in the NHS.
Asked if similar negligence extended across the system, Mr Hunt said front-line staff have warned that "Mid Staffs wasn't just something that happened in one hospital".
NHS patients are best protected when wards have the right number of staff working, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has warned.
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of midwives, initially praised Jeremy Hunt's plans to make the NHS safer, but raised concerns over low staff numbers and lack of protection for whistleblowers.
– Cathy Warwick
I worry that I have heard this before from Governments without any real progress being made.
Safety is about having the right numbers of staff and high-performing teams working together to deliver the best care, and this is crucial if we are to deliver safe maternity care.
Safety also needs NHS staff being treated properly with trusts promoting open, honest and caring cultures if they are to get the best out of them; you can only have candour if staff feel their concerns will be listened to, they are treated with compassion and that they will be given the support they need.
The Mid-Staffs scandal, in which appalling conditions lead to hundreds of patients dying prematurely, should be "a turning point" in NHS culture, Jeremy Hunt has said.
In a speech at the Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, the Health Secretary outlined plans to create a "more open, compassionate and transparent culture" in the health service.
– Jeremy Hunt
It is my clear ambition that the NHS should become the safest healthcare system anywhere in the world.
I want the tragic events of Mid Staffs to become a turning point in the creation of a more open, compassionate and transparent culture within the NHS.
We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to save lives and prevent avoidable harm - which will empower staff and save money that can be reinvested in patient care.
Hospitals are already 'signing up to safety' as part of this new movement - and I hope all NHS organisations will soon join them.
The point at which hospitals have to tell a patient they have been harmed will be reviewed by the Government as part of an updated "duty of candour" for the NHS, the Health Secretary has announced.
Speaking at the Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, Jeremy Hunt outlined plans to revise the legal threshold at which hospitals have to inform patients and suggested those at the lower end of the scale would not be told.
The Government caused outrage last November when it said the duty of candour should mean patients and families are only told of harm if it results in death or severe disability.
However, in his speech, Mr Hunt outlined plans aimed at reducing the £1.3 billion the NHS annually spends on litigation and saving 6,000 lives over the next three years.
He said NHS organisations will be invited to "sign up to safety" and set out publicly their ambitious plans for reducing avoidable harm, such as medication errors, blood clots and bed sores.
Severely ill patients will only be given early access to experimental drugs after they have passed "second stage clinical trials", the Health Secretary has told Daybreak.
Jeremy Hunt sought to reassure severely ill patients they would have access to potentially groundbreaking medicine only if it was deemed "safe" by UK Government experts.
"We would only want this to happen for drugs we're confident are safe," Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said of a new "fast track" scheme to allow severely ill people access to drugs not yet on the market
He said people diagnosed with serious illnesses "very often want to volunteer" to take part in clinical trials, adding that he wants the UK to have the world's "biggest bank" of volunteers willing to take part in such trials.
People suffering from serious illnesses including cancer and dementia will be able to try new medicines years before they reach the market, the Health Secretary has announced.
Jeremy Hunt published details of a "fast track" plan to get drugs into the NHS before they have even been granted a licence for use.
Paid for by the pharmaceutical industry, the scheme means experts will carry out a rapid assessment of a drug before labelling it a "promising innovative medicine" before the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency gives it the go-ahead.
Mr Hunt said: "This ground-breaking scheme will provide cutting edge medicines earlier, give hope to patients and their families and save lives. And as part of our strategy for life sciences it will create more jobs and opportunities for people, helping secure a better future for our country."
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told ITV News 6,000 nurses could potentially lose their jobs if all health workers receive the recommended 1% pay rise.
Mr Hunt told ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship: "The reality that is if we give hospitals pay bills that they can't meet they'll only have one alternative, and that's to lay off nurses.
"The numbers show that potentially 6,000 nurses would be laid off if we accepted the pay review body's recommendations, and that's not a risk I'm prepared to take for patients."
ITV News' Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship has tweeted:
Health Sec Jeremy Hunt says the Pay Review Body recommendation of 1% for all NHS staff was "unaffordable" & risked "quality of patient care"