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New NHS system for investigating serious incidents

View profile for Sarah Masters
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Baby boy dies after NHS Trust makes mistakes during delivery

On 16th August 2022 the NHS announced the new Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF) for investigating serious incidents which will replace the Serious Incident Framework (2015).

Organisations will be expected to transition to the new Framework by Autumn 2023.

The focus of the PSIRF is to support organisations in responding to patient safety incidents by maximising learning and improving which is vital to reducing avoidable harm across the NHS. This is something we often find individuals and families want the most when pursuing a medical negligence claim. They want to make sure the NHS understands why the incident has happened and learns from it to ensure no one else or no other family must go through what they have been through. The PSIRF recognises this and supports compassionate engagement and involvement of those affected by patient safety incidents (patients, families, and staff).

The PSIRF supports the development and maintenance of an effective patient safety incident response system that integrates four key aims:

  1. Compassionate engagement and involvement of those affected by patient safety incidents
  2. Application of a range of system-based approached to learning from patient safety incidents
  3. Considered and proportionate responses to patient safety incidents
  4. Supportive oversight focused on strengthening response system functioning and improvement

The PSIRF applies to services under the NHS Standard Contract such as acute, ambulance, mental health, and community healthcare providers. This includes maternity and all specialised services. Primary care providers are not required to use the framework but they can adopt it if they wish to do so.

A number of NHS Trusts across the country adopted the PSIRF early to monitor its impact and effectiveness as well as provide feedback to NHS England & Improvement. Commenting on the new framework Nicholas Seaton, patient safety manager at North Bristol NHS Trust said “There is no one-size-fits-all-approach to support the patient and staff in response to a patient safety incident. Adapting to each situation and varying our approach to engagement and learning can be challenging in healthcare. That is why this guidance is crucial to equipping us with tools and knowledge to how we harness insight and involve the patient, as well as our staff across the NHS system, when a patient safety incident occurs.” 

More than a million people are treated by the NHS every single day and unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the negligence of a medical or health professional then we may be able to help you pursue a claim for compensation. Our leading team of experts are on hand to offer advice, so please get in touch with us on 0161 696 6165 or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.