NHS England publishes framework for involving patients in safety

A new framework has been released by NHS England (NHSE) to provide guidance on how the NHS can involve people in their own safety, as well as improving patient safety in partnership with staff.

Published on 29 June, the paper opens to highlight “people now have a greater expectation that they will be involved in their care and in ensuring it is safe.”

The framework was originally announced in 2019 to offer guidance ‘on how the NHS can involve people in their own safety’, as well as supporting staff with approaches around patient safety.

The document notes: “Integrated Care Systems should consider how they can involve patients and other lay members as part of their safety governance processes as they develop and mature.”

Part A of the document addresses how to best involve patients in their safety and encourages staff to ask questions to a patient about their health and conditions, conduct individual information sharing sessions with a patient, set up information campaigns to make staff and patients aware of vital health measures like washing hands and to report incidents to the National Reporting and Learning System.

In terms of the wider approach to patient safety working with staff, NHSE said organisations must ensure “individuals have enough information to participate in decision-making about their care; information should be consistently written in plain language without jargon.”

Part B of the report outlines the importance of ‘patient safety partners’ (PSPs) and their role, which can often include duties like membership of safety and quality committees. It also includes the review and analysis of safety data, involvement in patient safety improvement projects, working with organisation boards to consider how to improve safety, involvement in staff patient safety training, and participation in investigation oversight groups.

PSPs form an important part of the framework and, as part of the NHS Patient Safety Strategy, it sets the target for all safety-related clinical governance committees (or equivalents) in NHS organisations to include two PSPs by June 2022, and for them to have received the required training by June 2023.

Nine principles are set out later on in the summary which are the following:

  1. Commitment to involving PSPs in patient safety
  2. Creating a framework to develop and support PSP involvement
  3. Inclusive approaches to attracting PSPs
  4. Developing PSP roles and task profiles
  5. Safeguarding PSPs, staff and patients
  6. Recruiting PSPs
  7. Induction and training for PSPs
  8. Supporting PSPs
  9. Valuing and recognising PSP contributions

To view the publication, please click here >.