This series of investigations was announced by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in June 2023. They will launch in autumn 2023, after organisational transformation to become the Health Services Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB) is complete.
HSSIB will conduct investigations around:
- How providers learn from deaths in their care and use that learning to improve their services, including post-discharge.
- How young people with mental health needs are cared for in inpatient services and how their care could be improved.
- How out-of-area placements are handled.
- How to develop a safe, therapeutic staffing model for all mental health inpatient services.
HSSIB will be able to look at inpatient mental health care in both the NHS and the independent sector in England.
During summer 2023, before the investigations launch, we are talking to our national partners across the healthcare system in England, as well as to organisations that represent healthcare staff, patients and families. This is to understand the current landscape in inpatient mental health care.
Organisations we’re talking to include:
- care providers
- professional bodies
- voluntary and charitable organisations that represent patient and family groups
- members of Parliament (MPs).
This will ensure that when the investigations launch, we have identified and will address the most serious risks to mental health inpatients. Within each investigation area we will identify recommendations and other learning that will lead to changes in the safety culture and how safety is managed within mental health services.
How we work
The mental health care sector has experienced multiple investigations and inquiries in recent years. HSSIB will be uniquely positioned as an independent safety body to contribute to a system level understanding of the challenges in providing care in mental health inpatient settings.
Any evidence we gather during the investigations is given full protection from disclosure. It is crucial that those impacted by poor care and those who work on the frontlines of mental health inpatient settings can share their experience, reassured that HSSIB will use this information to improve care and not to find blame or fault with individuals or organisations. With this protection, patients, families and healthcare staff can share their concerns without the fear of retribution.
HSSIB will also have legal powers to make sure investigators can access premises and collect evidence relevant to the investigations, including asking people to speak with us. However, we would always prefer to work with the consent of organisations and individuals to support our investigations, as we have done as HSIB. We aim to work collaboratively across the healthcare system to improve inpatient mental health care for everyone.
If you represent a national organisation (like those listed above in the ‘latest update’ section) and would like to get involved during this preliminary phase, please email email@example.com.
There will be more opportunities for organisations, healthcare staff, patients and families to get involved once the investigations launch.