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Patient Safety

Patient safety is the guiding principle of all who serve in the NHS – the first and most important lesson staff should learn is how to act safely. Our work on education and training for patient safety looks at how Health Education England can best support individuals and the system as a whole to deliver this.

The Commission on Education and Training for Patient Safety published its report Improving Safety Through Education and Training in 2016. Since then Health Education England (HEE) has been delivering against the recommendations within the report nationally, regionally and in collaboration with partners. This has set a firm grounding for the next phase of educational development required to deliver the NHS Patient Safety Strategy (NPSS).  

Patient Safety Training Levels 1 & 2

Patient safety training materials have been published by Health Education England, NHS England and NHS Improvement, The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and elearning for healthcare, elements of which are expected to be completed by all NHS employees, even those in roles which are not patient facing. Completion of the training will help to ensure health and care services are as safe as possible for patients and service users.

The training materials can be found on the elearning for healthcare hub. The training has five levels, which build on each other, the first two levels Essentials for patient safety and Access to practice being made available today. The first level, Essentials for patient safety, is the starting point and all NHS staff are encouraged to complete it. Level one also provides an additional session for senior leaders: Essentials of patient safety for boards and senior leadership teams. Level two, Access to practice is intended for those who have an interest in understanding more about patient safety and those who want to go on to access the higher levels of training.

The training has been devised following the publication of the NHS Patient Safety Strategy which contains a patient safety syllabus. The syllabus sets out a new approach to patient safety emphasising a proactive approach to identifying risks to safe care while also including systems thinking and human factors, all of which has been incorporated into the training.

Health Education England has published the first NHS-wide Patient Safety Syllabus which applies to all NHS employees and will result in NHS employees receiving enhanced patient safety training. 

Written by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and commissioned by HEE the new National Patient Safety Syllabus outlines a new approach to patient safety emphasising a proactive approach to identifying risks to safe care while also including systems thinking and human factors. 

To view the National Patient Safety Syllabus and the Curriculum Guidance see below:

NHS National Patient Safety Syllabus

Curriculum Guidance for Delivering the NHS Patient Safety Syllabus 

Please find listed below print versions of the modules included in the Curriculum Guidance for Delivering the NHS Patient Safety Syllabus. Accessible versions will be available and the Patient Safety team can be contacted at patientsafety@hee.nhs.uk to discuss any queries.

3.1 The safety landscape
3.2 The systems approach to patient safety
3.3 Patient safety regulations and improvement
3.4 Organisational culture and learning
3.5 Patient and public involvement in safety
3.6 Human factors and clinical practice
3.7 Non-technical skills and clinical practice
3.8 System-based approach to learning from patient safety incidents
3.9 Avoiding blame and creating a learning culture through a just culture approach
3.10 Medico-legal and professional responsibilities
4.1 Managing human performance variability in patient safety
4.2 Task analysis and support
4.3 System-based interventions in patient safety incidents
4.4 Safety II and resilience
4.5 Risk evaluation in clinical practice
4.6 Mapping techniques to identify risks to patients
4.7 Designing for systems safety
4.8 Process reliability and safety assurance
4.9 Evaluating safety culture
5.1 Integrating human factors
5.2 Risk, escalation and governance in patient safety
5.3 Creating a culture of patient safety
5.4 Part 1 The safety case
5.4 Part 2 The safety case


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