Patient Safety Alerts

As of 1 April 2016, Patient Safety is now part of NHS Improvement. Patient Safety Alerts will now be issued by NHS Improvement and you will find all new Patient Safety Alerts issued post 1 April 2016 on the NHS Improvement website. All alerts that were issued under NHS England (between 1 December 2013 and 31 March 2016) are available on the NHS England web pages.

Patient safety alerts are a crucial part of our work to rapidly alert the healthcare system to risks and provide guidance on preventing potential incidents that may lead to harm or death. These incidents are identified using our reporting system to spot emerging patterns at a national level, so that appropriate guidance can be developed and issued to protect patients from harm.

Patient safety alerts are issued via the Central Alerting System (CAS), a web-based cascading system for issuing alerts, important public health messages and other safety critical information and guidance to the NHS and other organisations, including independent providers of health and social care.

What constitutes a patient safety alert?

National Patient Safety Alerting System

In January 2014 we launched the new National Patient Safety Alerting System (NPSAS) to strengthen our process of providing urgent information to healthcare providers via CAS. This three-stage alerting system also encourages information sharing between organisations so that examples of best practice can be widely adopted. It is used to provide useful educational and implementation resources to help healthcare providers improve patient safety around specific incident types.

Read more about the National Patient Safety Alerting System

Previous NHS patient safety alerts were issued by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), whose responsibilities have now been transferred to NHS England. You can view previous NPSA patient safety alerts on their website.

Data on patient safety alert compliance

As part of NHS England’s commitment to transparency, we publish monthly data on all trusts who have not signed off a relevant patient safety alert as ‘action complete’ within the designated timeframe.

You can view the monthly data here.

Read our Advice on how the status of patient safety guidance involving medical devices with non-Luer connectors can be signalled to the Central Alerting System.

See all NHS patient safety alerts below:

Patient Safety Alert – prioritisation of general practice home visits

A patient safety alert has been issued by NHS England around the prioritisation of general practice home visits. When a request for a home visit is made, it is vital that general practices have a system in place to assess: whether a home visit is clinically necessary; and the urgency of need for medical attention. […]

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Patient safety alert – Risk of severe harm or death when desmopressin is omitted or delayed in patients with cranial diabetes insipidus

A patient safety alert has been issued by NHS England to raise awareness of the risk of severe dehydration and death caused by an omission or delay of desmopressin in patients with cranial diabetes insipidus. Cranial diabetes insipidus is a rare disorder of the pituitary gland characterised by an inability to produce antidiuretic hormone (ADH), […]

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Patient safety alert – The risk of using different airway humidification devices simultaneously

A joint patient safety alert has been issued by NHS England and the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to raise awareness of the risk of having two different types of airway humidification devices simultaneously connected to a patient’s ventilation equipment. There are two humidifiers in common use: heated [water] humidifiers (HHs), usually located […]

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Patient safety alert – The importance of checking vital signs during and after restrictive interventions/manual restraint

A patient safety alert has been issued by NHS England to raise awareness of the importance of taking, recording and responding to vital signs where restraint has been used to manage a person’s behaviour if they are at risk to themselves or others. Healthcare professionals should follow existing guidance on positive interventions to reduce the […]

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Patient safety alert – Risk of death and serious harm by falling from hoists

A joint patient safety alert has been issued by NHS England and the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to highlight the risk of falls from hoists. The alert has been issued following patient safety incident reports that suggest existing Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advice on safely using hoists and providing training had […]

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Patient Safety Alert – Supporting the introduction of the National Safety Standards for Invasive Procedures

A Patient Safety Alert has been issued by NHS England to launch an NHS-wide programme of work based around the National Standards for Invasive Procedures (NatSSIPs) that were published on 7 September 2015. The alert asks NHS providers to review current clinical practice and ensure the NatSSIPs are embedded into local processes by developing their […]

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Patient safety alert – addressing antimicrobial resistance through implementation of an antimicrobial stewardship programme

NHS England, Health Education England and Public Health England have issued a joint National Patient Safety Alert to all providers of NHS care in England to highlight the challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the need for antimicrobial stewardship. Inappropriate use of antimicrobials has been a key driver in AMR, which has risen alarmingly over […]

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