New measures to investigate serious patient safety incidents announced

Medical Government/ NHS related news

The government has announced new measures to give the Health Service Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB) additional powers to help safeguard patient safety.

Under the newly-drafted Health Service Safety Investigations Bill, the organisation will have new legal powers to investigate serious patient safety incidents taking place in the NHS in England, drawing on lessons from the airline industry.

“The government has proposed new powers for the Health Service Safety Investigations Body to allow the organisation to investigate serious patient safety incidents.“

The newly empowered HSSIB will take forward the work of the current Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch and will operate independently from the NHS, with far-reaching access to investigate serious incidents or risks.

After each investigation, the body will publish detailed reports making recommendations for system-wide learning across the NHS, thereby helping to develop national standards and offering advice, guidance and training to improve investigative practice across the NHS.

Additionally, it will protect any information it holds from disclosure, creating a safe space in which patients, families and staff can share information without fear of public attention.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "This draft bill represents a landmark moment for patient safety across our NHS, and is a historic opportunity to achieve widespread cultural change in learning from mistakes."

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