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 we are in the process of developing a new Patient Safety Response Framework (PSIRF) to replace the current Serious Incident Framework.

To ensure successful implementation of the PSIRF when rolled out in 2021, we are first working with a small number of early adopters who will shorty begin using an introductory version of the framework in their organisations.

Learning from the early adopters will inform the final version of the PSIRF which we anticipate will be published in Spring 2021. At that point, all other organisations will be encouraged to begin the transition to the PSIRF, with an expectation that all parts of the NHS in England will be using the new framework by Autumn 2021.

We have published a new webpage containing a range of further information about the PSIRF, including the introductory version of the PSIRF document being used by the early adopters. Local systems and organisations outside of the early adopter areas can use this version of the PSIRF to start to plan and prepare for PSIRF’s full introduction in 2021.

However, until the final version of the PSIRF is published and organisations transition to the new framework in Summer/Autumn 2021, they 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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