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Support for staff following patient safety incidents

HSIB legacy content

HSIB legacy content

This investigation was carried out by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB). Find out more about HSIB legacy.

Investigation summary

This national learning report explores HSIB’s insights into how NHS staff are supported by their trusts following patient safety incidents, with a focus on good practice.

Our national learning reports can be used by healthcare leaders, policymakers, and the public to:

  • Aid their knowledge of systemic patient safety risks
  • Understand the underlying contributing factors
  • Inform decision making to improve patient safety
  • Explore wider patient safety processes

The information in national learning reports is also used to inform future HSIB investigations or programmes of work.

People want to work in healthcare to care for people who are unwell. NHS staff are sometimes involved with events in a patient’s care that were unexpected or unintended. Following these events, NHS staff may experience significant emotional responses that greatly impact on their own health and their future ability to work.

The medical literature has highlighted a need for support of NHS staff when things go unexpectedly in a patient’s care, which is not always met.

In this national learning report we explore feedback from our national investigators around positive efforts identified in the support of NHS staff by their organisations following patient safety incidents.

We describe the literature around NHS staff support to attempt to identify areas of best practice and the impact of any interventions.

The purpose is to share our insights and to develop some key principles, based on those insights, around how NHS staff can be best supported in practice.

The report describes some exemplars of work being undertaken to support NHS staff after patient safety incidents.