Serious Incident framework

Supporting learning to prevent recurrence of harm.

Patient safety is of the highest importance and must be an integral part of the health and social care response to the pandemic. However, in this context we need to shift our approach and the safety measures we are asking of health and care providers.

Organisations should now aim to maintain a core and proportionate response to patient safety incidents and prioritise action to mitigate risks to patients and staff.

Update on development of the Patient Safety Incident Response Framework

As outlined in the NHS patient safety strategy, in August 2022 we published the new Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF), which will replace the current Serious Incident Framework.

There will be a 12 month period where organisations prepare for the transition to PSIRF, which we expect to be completed by Autumn 2023. During this preparation phase, organisations must continue using the current Serious Incident Framework.

The Serious Incident framework describes the process and procedures to help ensure serious incidents are identified correctly, investigated thoroughly and, most importantly, learned from to prevent the likelihood of similar incidents happening again.

  • Revised Serious Incident framework – March 2015 – This framework explains the responsibilities involved when dealing with serious incidents and includes actions staff are required to take, and the tools available.

This framework is designed to inform staff providing and commissioning NHS funded services in England who may be involved in identifying, investigating or managing a serious incident. It is relevant to all NHS-funded care in the primary, community, secondary and tertiary sectors. This includes private sector organisations providing NHS-funded services.

Investigations carried out under this framework are conducted for the purposes of learning to prevent recurrence.

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