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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 NHS 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, NHS England (formerly Health Education England) 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).

The training has been devised following the publication of the NHS Patient Safety Strategy which contains a patient safety syllabus. The syllabus sets out our 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.

Patient Safety Syllabus and Curriculum

NHS 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 NHS England (formerly Health Education England) the National Patient Safety Syllabus outlines our approach to patient safety emphasising a proactive approach to identifying risks to safe care while also including systems thinking and human factors. 

The National Patient Safety Syllabus and the Curriculum Guidance can be found below:

NHS National Patient Safety Syllabus

Curriculum Guidance for Delivering the NHS Patient Safety Syllabus

Patient Safety Syllabus Training

Patient safety training materials have been published by 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 has five levels, which build on each other, the first two levels Essentials for patient safety and Access to practice are available on the elearning for healthcare hub. 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.

On completion of Levels 1 and 2, learners will have the opportunity to progress onto Levels 3 and 4, which explore topics such as: unpacking system issues, managing patient safety risks, understanding cultural, legal, and regulatory factors, and designing solutions. Levels 3 and 4 are delivered through a blended-learning approach, with a number of modules delivered through online learning and followed up with an in-person event.

Level 5 provides builds on the skills developed through levels 3 and 4. Level 5 comprised four modules designed for patient safety experts who will be innovators and leaders in this area, and to recognise that this goes beyond the application of existing methodologies. On completing Level 5 participants will have the ability to: provide expert advice on support, evaluate and communicate the degree of safety, develop a holistic view of safety, use key risk management and governance systems, ensure human factors and ergonomics are integrated through their organisation and foster a patient safety culture.

For further information on the Patient Safety Syllabus Training, please contact england.patientsafety@nhs.net.

Frequently Asked Questions

NHS patient safety syllabus and training - Key FAQs Levels 1 and 2

NHS patient safety syllabus and training - Key FAQs Levels 3 and 4

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