Patient Safety Specialists

Patient Safety Specialists are individuals in healthcare organisations (predominantly in NHS providers and Integrated Care Boards (ICBs), but also in some independent providers and ALBs) who have been designated to provide dynamic senior patient safety leadership.

Each Patient Safety Specialist is dedicated to providing expert support to their organisation, and is expected to have direct access to their executive team, which facilitates the escalation of patient safety issues or concerns. They also play a key role in local implementation of the NHS Patient Safety Strategy, supporting the development of a patient safety culture, safety systems and improvement activity.

The requirement for NHS organisations in England to identify one or more Patient Safety Specialists is a key part of the NHS patient safety strategy, and is included in the NHS standard contract.

Role requirements for Patient Safety Specialists

The  role requirement documents for Patient Safety Specialists at providers and ICBs are designed to support NHS organisations in identifying individuals with the right skills and experience to take on the role as a Patient Safety Specialist. They outline the purpose of Patient Safety Specialists, the key requirements of the role, and how we expect them to work in their own organisation, as well as with local, regional and national partners.

National priorities for the Patient Safety Specialists

The Patient Safety Specialists have been asked to prioritise the local implementation of the following areas from the NHS patient safety strategy:

  • Support transition from National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) and Strategic Executive Information System (StEIS) to the new Learn from Patient Safety Events (LFPSE) service
  • Involvement in implementing the new Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF)
  • Improving safety culture
  • Responding to National Patient Safety Alerts
  • Implementation of the Framework for Involving Patients in Patient Safety
  • Improving patient safety education and training
  • Addressing patient safety improvement
  • Implementing medical examiners

Supporting organisations to identify Patient Safety Specialist(s)

Organisations yet to identify Patient Safety Specialists, or that wish to replace or add additional specialists, should follow the process below.

The relevant executive director with responsibility for patient safety must confirm they have considered the Role requirements for Patient Safety Specialists document as part of the process for identifying specialists, and email providing the name, email and contact number for the person they are identifying, as well as, where appropriate, those of the person they are replacing. It will also be helpful if they can include the current job title and pay band of any new Patient Safety Specialists, on the understanding that this information will not be shared more widely.

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