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SEATTLE – (March 25, 2014) — Virginia Mason’s commitment to safety and quality is helping to inspire new measures aimed at improving patient safety at hospitals throughout England.

The United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt will deliver a major public policy speech at Virginia Mason at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 26, during which he will announce new patient-safety initiatives for the National Health Service (NHS) of England. His proposals build upon lessons learned at Virginia Mason and its emphasis on continuous improvement.

“Patient safety is our No. 1 priority,” said Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD. “We’re honored that Mr. Hunt is advancing changes in England’s health system based in part on the value he sees in our commitment and dedication to always putting patients first.”

In England, the government is working to re-establish public confidence in the nation’s health system following catastrophic safety and quality failures that sparked an investigation and the 2013 Francis Inquiry Report.

Hunt is traveling to Virginia Mason to unveil his plans for England’s health system because of the importance Virginia Mason’s experience and success have had in shaping his recommendations. More than 200 government, health care and business leaders throughout the Puget Sound area have been invited to his presentation in Volney Richmond Auditorium at Virginia Mason’s Lindeman Pavilion, 1201 Terry Ave., Seattle. 

“Here the tragic death of Mrs. Mary McClinton 10 years ago — and its impact on her family, her doctors, the hospital and the wider community — became a turning point,” Hunt will say during his speech. “Your resolve in choosing to learn and change as a response is an inspiration for health professionals the world over. Just as in aviation or automobile manufacturing, when something goes wrong, you ‘stop the line.’ And as a result, much harm has been avoided and many lives saved.”

“You are now regarded as one of the safest hospitals in the world,” Hunt will say.

The McClinton case sparked sweeping changes in patient safety protocols at Virginia Mason. She is also the namesake of the hospital’s patient safety award, which is given annually to the Virginia Mason team that develops and implements the most significant measures that enhance patient safety. 

Accompanying Hunt to Virginia Mason will be the quality director for England’s Department of Health; the patient safety director for the National Health Service of England; and the Care Quality Commission’s chief hospital inspector. Following his speech, Hunt and Dr. Kaplan will meet with the news media.

About Virginia Mason
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs more than 5,600 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 460 physicians; satellite locations throughout the Puget Sound area; and Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is internationally recognized for its breakthrough autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason was the first health system to apply lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste, lower cost, and improve quality and patient safety.

To learn more about Virginia Mason, please visit Facebook.com/VMcares or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter. To learn how Virginia Mason is transforming health care and to join the conversation, visit our blog at VirginiaMasonBlog.org.

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Virginia Mason Media Relations
(206) 341-1509
gale.robinette@vmmc.org

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