National Patient Safety Alerts
The way national organisations issue safety alerts is changing.
All organisations that issue national safety alerts will soon be required to use a single standardised National Patient Safety Alert template.
By using this template, organisations will show their alerts meet the agreed criteria of common standards and thresholds developed by NaPSAC, a multi-organisational committee set up to improve the effectiveness of safety-critical information issued to providers of NHS care.
NaPSAC accreditation process
Before being accredited to use the new National Patient Safety Alert template, each of the alert issuing organisations will be assessed to ensure the way they develop alerts meet NaPSAC’s requirements.
Each organisation is currently working towards NaPSAC accreditation and it is hoped all will be approved within the next 12 months. During this time there will be a period of dual running with some organisations still using their existing formats for alerts.
Once accreditation has been approved, they will be required to use the new standardised National Patient Safety Alert template.
Organisations that have achieved NaPSAC accreditation
- NHS England and NHS Improvement Patient Safety Team – accredited July 2019 for three years
What this means for providers
The standards and thresholds agreed by NaPSAC will underpin the CQC inspection of National Patient Safety Alerts and the potential for regulatory response for non-compliance.*
National Patient Safety Alerts will be sent to all types of healthcare providers (eg acute trusts, community pharmacies, general practices, mental health services), however, the targeting of specific alerts to different sectors will vary, depending on the issue being addressed.
As the new National Patient Safety Alerts are now being introduced, providers should ensure they have systems in place for identifying senior level oversight to action each alert. They should also ensure they continue to action other alerts coming through the system during the transition period.
*Providers in England only
NaPSAC was set up at the request of Secretary of State for Health and Social Care following evidence that there is a need for nationally-issued advice and guidance to more clearly identify the safety-critical and mandatory actions providers must comply with to protect the safety of their patients.
The core purpose of NaPSAC is to agree progress and oversee systems that will clearly identify which nationally-issued patient safety advice and guidance is safety-critical. This clarity is important for increasing providers’ understanding about which actions they must implement.
NaPSAC is chaired by the NHS National Director of Patient Safety, with the CQC Chief Inspector of Hospitals acting as deputy chair. The committee is made up of representation from each organisation that currently issues safety alerts. The committee also has patient and public representation.
News and updates
- CQC published ‘Opening the door to change’ on 19 December 2018 including a recommendation reinforcing the role of NaPSAC ‘The National Patient Safety Alert Committee (NaPSAC) should oversee a standardised patient safety alert system that aligns the processes and outputs of all bodies and teams that issue alerts, and make sure that they set out clear and effective actions that providers must take on safety-critical issues.