About Sign up to Safety

Background

Sign up to Safety is a national patient safety campaign announced by the Secretary of State for Health. It launched on 24 June 2014 with the mission to strengthen patient safety in the NHS and make it the safest healthcare system in the world.

The campaign aims to help member organisations listen to patients, carers and staff, learn from what they say when things go wrong and take action to improve patient’s safety, helping to ensure patients get harm free care every time, everywhere.

What is Sign up to Safety?

Sign up to Safety is here to help NHS staff and organisations achieve their patient safety aspirations and care for their patients in the safest way possible.

Ours is a joyful, trusting, open and optimistic approach to patient safety improvement; empowering and enabling our members to make the changes they want to see in their work. We see each day and every action as an opportunity to learn and improve and we welcome everyone who wishes to get involved.

We want our members to feel that they have the power to make a difference; acknowledging that those who work closest to patients know best what needs to happen to reduce avoidable harm and save lives.

Our role is to help them create a positive and strong safety culture that will stand the test of time. We do this by celebrating progress and providing practical support and guidance through digital channels and social media, making it quicker and easier for our members to find what they need to know, to be inspired and motivated to keep going.

Organisations who Sign up to Safety commit to strengthen patient safety by:

  • Setting out the actions they will undertake in response to the five Sign up to Safety pledges and agree to publish this on their website for staff, patients and the public to see.
  • Committing to turn their actions into a safety improvement plan (including a driver diagram) which will show how organisations intend to save lives and reduce harm for patients over the next 3 years.

Who can sign up to the campaign?

Sign up to Safety is for everyone, everywhere. Whether you work in primary, secondary, or tertiary care; whether you work in acute, mental health, learning disabilities, ambulance, or community care settings; whether you work in a national body or a general practice, Sign up to Safety applies to you.

Since launching in June 2014 organisations representing CCGs, acute trusts, mental health trusts, ambulance trusts, Royal Colleges and academic institutions are signed up and working proactively on prioritising safe care every day.

Find out more information about how organisations and individuals can sign up here.

The five Sign up to Safety pledges

  1. Putting safety first. Committing to reduce avoidable harm in the NHS by half through taking a systematic approach to safety and making public your locally developed goals, plans and progress. Instilling a preoccupation with failure so that systems are designed to prevent error and avoidable harm.
  2. Continually learn. Review your incident reporting and investigation processes to make sure that you are truly learning from them and using these lessons to make your organisation more resilient to risks. Listen, learn and act on the feedback from patients and staff and by constantly measuring and monitoring how safe your services are.
  3. Be honest. Being open and transparent with people about your progress to tackle patient safety issues and supporting staff to be candid with patients and their families if something goes wrong.
  4. Collaborate. Stepping up and actively collaborating with other organisations and teams; sharing your work, your ideas and your learning to create a truly national approach to safety. Working together with others, joining forces and creating partnerships that ensure a sustained approach to sharing and learning across the system.
  5. Be supportive. Being kind to your staff, helping them bring joy and pride to their work. Being thoughtful when things go wrong; helping staff cope and creating a positive just culture that asks why things go wrong in order to put them right. Giving staff the time, resources and support to work safely and to work on improvements. Thanking your staff, rewarding and recognising their efforts and celebrating your progress towards safer care.

How is the campaign being organised and supported?

Sign up to Safety is led by Dr Suzette Woodward as Campaign Director.

The campaign is not owned by any single NHS organisation; it is for everyone in every part of the NHS in England and is therefore working across the whole system.

For administration and budget management support the Sign up to Safety team is being hosted by the NHS Litigation Authority, although they are not employees of this organisation. This is one example of the practical ways in which several national organisations have committed to system wide support of Sign up to Safety including:

  • NHS Improvement: the responsibility for the national strategic leadership for patient safety in England sits with Dr Mike Durkin and his team at NHS Improvement. They support Sign up to Safety by ensuring the main components of the national patient safety system are all aligned and working for the common goal of reducing harm and saving lives. The regulators within NHS Improvement (Monitor and NHS Trust Development Authority) can offer leadership and advice to trusts and foundation trusts who are members of Sign up to Safety and can also sign post to partner organisations for specific expertise where required.
  • The Care Quality Commission support trusts signed up by reviewing their improvement plans for safety as part of its inspection programme. CQC does not offer a judgment on the plans themselves but consider them as a key source of evidence for Trusts to demonstrate how they are meeting the expectations of the five domains of safety and quality.
  • The Department of Health provide Government-level support to the campaign and work with the Sign up to Safety partners to ensure that the policy framework does all it can to support the campaign and the development of a culture of safer care.
  • The NHS Litigation Authority (NHS LA) has committed to support the Sign up to Safety campaign in two other distinct ways;
    • The safety and learning strategy at the NHS LA supports the overarching goal of reducing avoidable harm saving lives across the NHS in England. To find out more and see the NHS LA 5 pledges for Sign up to Safety.
    • The NHS LA has provided one-off financial incentives in 2015 to members who are participants of Sign up to Safety that have stated explicitly that their local safety improvement plan will address particular areas that relate to higher value and/or higher volume claims.

Find out more in the FAQs