Zero: Eliminating unnecessary deaths in a post-pandemic NHS

Jeremy Hunt
Tuesday 18 October 2022
St Mary’s Barnes 

How many avoidable deaths are there in the NHS every week?


What figure should we aim for?


The NHS is the pride of Britain. It’s an army of highly skilled and talented healthcare professionals, armed with the most cutting-edge therapies and medicines, and a budget bigger than the GDP of most countries in the world. Yet avoidable failures are common. And the result is tragic deaths up and down the country every day.

Jeremy Hunt, the longest-serving Health Secretary in history, knows exactly what the cost is. In the letters he received from bereaved family members he was constantly confronted by the heart-breaking reality of slip-ups and mistakes. There is increasing conflict between public pride in the NHS and the exhausted daily reality for many doctors and nurses, now experiencing burnout in record numbers. Waiting lists are up, staffing numbers inadequate, and all the while an ageing population and medical advances increase both demand and expectations. With pressures like these, is it surprising that mistakes start to creep in? This great British institution is crying out for renewal.

In Zero, taking the broadest approach, thinking through everything from staffing to technology, budgets to culture, Hunt presents a manifesto for that renewal. Mistakes happen. But nobody deserves to become a statistic in an NHS hospital. That’s why we need to aim for zero.

Jeremy Hunt has been the Member for Parliament for South West Surrey since 2005. He was Secretary of State for Health between September 2012 and July 2018, the longest-serving Health Secretary in history. His time in office included big battles over resourcing, the junior doctors’ strike and a consistent focus on patient safety, which is the theme of Zero. He has been Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee since January 2020.

Jeremy will be interviewed by award-winning broadcast journalist, Mark AustinAfter a thirty year career at ITN as journalist, reporter and TV anchor, Mark has recently been reporting from Ukraine for SKY News.