The National Patient Safety Committee was established in 2021, bringing key national healthcare organisations together to address complex patient safety issues that require cross-organisation effort and input to make care safer within the NHS.
The committee plays a strategic role in considering the existing landscape of national patient safety planning, response and improvement and consistently share insight and thinking about how, as a national healthcare system, we can improve the effectiveness of these patient safety functions.
For issues where there is no existing system or approach, or inconsistent systems, the committee makes strategic decisions on how they should be operationally managed.
This may include:
- where identified national patient safety risks or issues do not appear to fit within the existing remit of an arm’s length body (ALB), or other national body
- where there may be a need to have a coordinated approach across multiple ALBs due to the complex nature of the national patient safety issue.
The committee is responsible for developing a strategic approach for critical system-wide patient safety issues rather than the delivery of workstreams. It commissions work from member bodies/teams, enabling issues to be addressed in a timely manner. The committee provides oversight of this work to ensure a joined-up and consistent response and to ensure there are no gaps in national patient safety systems.
The committee’s main focus is on the most significant patient safety challenges in terms of scale of harm and where issues benefit most from national organisations working together with a coordinated approach. Alongside this it may have workstreams related to specific safety processes needing an aligned approach. It currently has three such workstreams:
- overseeing a pilot of oversight of delivery of the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch recommendations
- a nationally agreed operational process to improve cross-national organisation working for urgent special patient safety circumstances and to review its operation
- overseeing the accreditation of organisations issuing national patient safety alerts and ensuring alerts meet the required common standards for effectiveness (this function has been taken over from the now disbanded National Patient Safety Alerting Committee).
- Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
- Allied Health Professionals
- Care Quality Commission
- Chief Medical Office
- Chief Pharmaceutical Officer
- Department of Health and Social Care
- Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response
- Health Education England
- Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
- NHS England and NHS Improvement: Patient Safety
- NHS England and NHS Improvement: Estates and Facilities
- NHS England and NHS Improvement: Nursing
- NHS Digital
- UK Health Security Agency
We also call upon the expertise of other organisations as and when required.