Health Services Safety Investigations Body

We investigate patient safety concerns across England to improve NHS care at a national level.

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About us

We aim to be the global leader in professional, high quality healthcare safety investigations. We investigate patient safety concerns across England to improve NHS care at a national level. Our investigations do not find blame or liability with individuals or organisations. Information shared with us is confidential and protected by law.


We are a fully independent arm’s length body of the Department of Health and Social Care.

Find out more about us
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Investigations

We can investigate patient safety concerns that occur in England during the provision of healthcare services, and that have or may have implications for the safety of patients.

Our investigations can consider healthcare provided in the NHS and the independent sector. Where an investigation relates to an incident that did not occur in the NHS, we must consider whether NHS systems and practices could be improved because of our investigation.


We can also be directed to investigate a patient safety concern by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

More about our investigation process
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Education

We offer an education programme to the NHS in England delivered by professional healthcare safety investigation experts.


Our courses are aimed at NHS staff in health and social care settings in England, who are involved in safety investigations for learning. We offer a range of courses and standalone sessions to support development and help embed professional safety investigations across the NHS.


Courses run online and are free of charge to attend for NHS staff in England.

Enrol on a course

Latest investigation reports

A male patient's hand rests on a nurse call button in a hospital bed

Positive patient identification

Patient misidentification was highlighted as a risk to patient safety by the National Patient Safety Agency in the early 2000s. Despite the time that has passed, patient misidentification remains a persistent risk to patient safety that can result in significant harm.

Read the positive patient identification report
An anaesthetist performs a nasotracheal intubation of a child.

Advanced airway management in patients with a known complex disease

Improvement is needed at a national level in the communication, preparation and planning for patients who may have a ‘difficult airway’. We’ve made four safety recommendations, to NHS England and the Royal College of Anaesthetists.

Read the airway management report
A nurse wearing scrubs prepares surgical instruments including swabs.

Retained swabs following invasive procedures

This investigation explores the patient safety risk of unintended retention of surgical swabs (sterile pieces of gauze) after surgery. Our interim report analyses the findings of 31 NHS trust serious incident reports.

Read the retained swabs interim report

News, events and blogs

A male patient's hand rests on a nurse call button in a hospital bed

New learning report brings together learning on patient misidentification

Our latest report reiterates that the misidentification of patients remains a persistent safety risk across the NHS but is one that is under-recognised and under-researched.
Read the full article
An anaesthetist performs a nasotracheal intubation of a child.

New report charts safety risks associated with managing patients with known ‘difficult airways’ in emergency situations

Our latest report shows improvement is needed at a national level in the communication, preparation and planning for patients who may have ‘a difficult airway’ – that is the anatomy of their mouth, t…
Read the full article
An illustration showing the many parts that make up the healthcare system, including healthcare staff, diagnostics, medication and different services like emergency care.

The investigator's toolkit: SEIPS

Continuing our series of blogs that look at the range of investigation methods we use, Deinniol Owens and Dr Helen Vosper highlight how SEIPS can be the investigator’s ‘swiss army knife’ when plannin…
Read the full article