Report a patient safety incident

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 Reporting and Learning System (NRLS).  Find out more about how we use these reports on our learning from patient safety incidents section.

Important notice: by completing one of our e-forms you confirm you have read and accept the NRLS acceptance note, and give NHS Improvement permission to process the information you provide to learn about patient safety.

For the general public

Record incidents directly on the NRLS via our e-form for patients and public.

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 NHS Choices.

For healthcare staff

Healthcare staff are encouraged where possible to record all patient safety incidents on their local risk management systems. These reports will then be routinely uploaded to the NRLS to support national learning. Healthcare staff unable to use a local risk management system can also record incidents directly on the NRLS via the e-forms below.

Before you submit your report

NRLS acceptance note

It is important that you acknowledge, understand and accept the following before submitting your report:

  1. The NRLS is managed and operated by 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. As mentioned above, we frequently share patient safety incident reports with other relevant organisations working to improve patient safety. These include CQC, MHRA, NHS England, commissioners, providers, academia and others such as the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) and Public Health England.
  5. 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.

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