Patient safety in general practice

Every day over a million NHS patients are cared for by dedicated teams of general practitioners and practice staff. The majority of patients are treated safely and effectively, but unfortunately sometimes things can and do go wrong, no matter how caring and competent staff are.

Reporting patient safety incidents that occur in general practice

NHS England has launched a new general practice e-form, developed specifically to make it quick and easy for all practice staff to report patient safety incidents to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS), the NHS’ national patient safety incident database. Reporting an incident should only take a few minutes and will help to keep patients safe from avoidable harm.

Practice staff should use the new GP e-form to report all patient safety incidents and near misses whether they result in harm or not. These reports are used by the NHS England Patient Safety Domain to spot any emerging patterns of similar incidents or anything of particular concern. This can then be used to take action to raise awareness of the risk and share learning with general practices and other health providers across the country to protect patients and prevent it happening elsewhere.

Quick guide to reporting patient safety incidents that occur in general practice, video and blog

To support general practice staff we have produced a short guide on using the new GP e-form, why to report, what to report and what happens after an incident report has been submitted.

We have also produced some short videos featuring Dr Martyn Diaper, NHS England Head of Patient Safety (Primary Care); Dr Mike Bewick, NHS England Deputy Medical Director; Professor Nigel Sparrow, Senior National GP Advisor and Responsible Officer at the Care Quality Commission; and Dr Paul Gardner a practising GP in Shropshire.

Watch the videos on our YouTube Channel.

Report incidents and gain Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits

By reporting a patient safety incident to the NRLS you can gain CPD credits. When you report a patient safety incident to the NRLS using the GP e-form you will automatically be sent a CPD / Serious Event Analysis (SEA) template for appraisal and revalidation. This can also be used as evidence for CQC inspections.

Sign up to Safety

GPs and their practices are encouraged to join the Sign up to Safety campaign.

Sign up to Safety is a three year national patient safety campaign launched in June 2014 with a vision for the NHS to be the safest healthcare system in the world.

Its mission is to help everyone involved in healthcare to create the conditions that support a safer NHS and address the problem of unsafe care and avoidable harm.

By signing up you will:

  • Benefit from a nationwide network that connects people from different areas of the system, who are all putting patient safety at the top of their priorities.
  • Have access to virtual learning networks to share knowledge and support improvements happening at a local level.

Find out how you can get involved and access resources to help you keep your patients safe by visit the Sign up to Safety website.