National Patient Safety Alerting System

In January 2014 the new National Patient Safety Alerting System (NPSAS) was launched to strengthen the rapid dissemination of urgent patient safety alerts to healthcare providers via the Central Alerting System (CAS). This three-stage alerting system also provides useful educational and implementation resources to support providers to put appropriate measures in place to prevent harm and encourage and share best practice in patient safety.

The system builds on the strengths of the previous National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) patient safety alerts and rapid response reports and is based on systems used in other high risk industries.

What constitutes a patient safety alert?

The three stages of NPSAS alerts are:

Stage One Alert: Warning

This stage ‘warns’ organisations of emerging risk. It can be issued very quickly once a new risk has been identified to allow rapid dissemination of information.

Stage Two Alert: Resource

This alert may be issued some weeks or months after the stage one alert, and could consist of:

  • sharing of relevant local information identified by providers following a stage one alert;
  • sharing of examples of local good practice that mitigates the risk identified in the stage one alert;
  • access to tools and resources that help providers implement solutions to the stage one alert; and
  • access to learning resources that are relevant to all healthcare workers and can be used as evidence of continued professional development.

Stage Three Alert: Directive

When this stage of alert is issued, organisations will be required to confirm they have implemented specific solutions or actions to mitigate the risk. A checklist will be issued of required actions to be signed-off in a set timeframe. These actions will be tailored to the patient safety issue.

Further resources