Health Secretary: 'Not bad is not good enough'

Jeremy Hunt is expected to tell the Nuffield Trust's health policy conference in Dorking, later today:

Imagine for a moment that the main objective for our Olympic athletes was not to win but to 'not come last'. How many gold medals would we have won then?

It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But today I want to suggest that too much of the NHS is focused on doing just that.

Not on achieving world-class levels of excellence - the gold medals of healthcare - but meeting minimum standards, the equivalent of 'not coming last'.

Coasting can kill. Not straight away, but over time as complacency sets in, organisations look inwards, standards drop and then, suddenly, something gives.

Hospitals must not be allowed to cruise along, hitting the targets but missing the point.

Because 'not bad' is not good enough. Not if we want the NHS to be the best in the world. Not if we want everyone to have access to the best healthcare. Not if we are to meet the challenges of increasing expectation alongside increasing age.

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Jeremy Hunt hospitals warning

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to warn that too many middle-of-the-road hospitals are "hitting targets but missing the point."