Patient safety incidents are any unintended or unexpected incident which could have, or did, lead to harm for one or more patients receiving healthcare. Reporting them supports the NHS to learn from mistakes and to take action to keep patients safe.
Both healthcare staff and the general public are encouraged to report any incidents, whether they result in harm or not, to our national services for recording patient safety events.
Find out more about how we use these reports to improve patient safety on our Using patient safety events to keep patients safe web pages.
For the general public
Members of the public should record patient safety incidents directly to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) using the patient and public eform via the link below:
Please note: these reports are only used to support national learning. We do not investigate individual reports and you will not receive a reply. Details of how to make a complaint about an NHS service can be found on the NHS.uk website.
For healthcare staff
Healthcare staff are encouraged where possible to record all patient safety incidents on their organisation’s local risk management systems (LRMS). These reports will then be routinely uploaded to our systems to support national learning.
Smaller organisations, such as general practice, independent dental surgeries, community pharmacies and opticians, may not have their own LRMS. In these organisations, staff can now record patient safety events directly to the new Learn from patient safety events service (LFPSE), which is currently being rolled out to replace the existing National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS).
Further information can be found on our LFPSE primary care webpage.
NRLS acceptance note
If using the NRLS public eform, it is important that you acknowledge, understand and accept the following before submitting your report:
- The NRLS is managed and operated by NHS England and NHS Improvement as part of our statutory duty to collect patient safety incident reports. Healthcare organisations, staff and the general public can report incidents either directly to the NRLS using the links above or via an organisation’s own local risk management system. These reports support improvements to patient safety by enabling us to understand and learn from what goes wrong in healthcare.
- We do not investigate individual incidents. We use this information to improve safety by clinically reviewing reports to identify new or under-recognised patient safety risks so appropriate action can be taken across the NHS to protect patients from harm. We also share data to support other organisations’ work to prevent the more common and persistent types of patient safety incidents.
- We do not require the identity of the reporter, patients, healthcare staff or other individuals involved in the incident. Please refrain from providing any information that could potentially enable the identification of an individual, ie the names of individuals, patient date of birth, NHS hospital numbers or ward name. Personal identifiable information when found by automated or manual processes is removed wherever possible before the incident report is added to our database.
- As mentioned above, we frequently share patient safety incident reports with other relevant organisations working to improve patient safety. These include CQC, MHRA, commissioners, providers, academia and others such as the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) and UK Health Security Agency.
- NHS England and NHS Improvement will only retain information for as long as necessary. Patient safety reports will remain accessible for a long period of time to continue to support the understanding of contributing factors to under-recognised risks and enable trends to be monitored over time.