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About Patient Safety

Who we are

Patient Safety was a division of the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA). 


The NPSA was an arm's length body of the Department of Health. It was established in 2001 with a mandate to identify patient safety issues and find appropriate solutions and abolished in 2012.

The key functions of the Patient Safety division were transferred into NHS England on 1st June 2012


Related Department of Health documents:


What we do 

We work to identify and reduce risks to patients receiving NHS care. We also lead on national initiatives to improve patient safety.


Learning from reports of patient safety incidents 

When a patient safety incident happens, NHS staff in England and Wales can make confidential online reports via their local reporting systems. All staff are encouraged to report all incidents, whether they result in harm to patients or not.


Their reports are then fed into our database, the National Reporting and Learning System. Clinicians and safety experts analyse the reports to identify common risks and opportunities to improve patient safety. We then provide healthcare organisations with feedback and guidance to improve patient safety.


These include:


  • Resources, including alerts to address specific safety risks and tools to build a strong safety culture.
  • National campaigns on specific topics such as hand hygiene.
  • Collaborating with international organisations on global campaigns and initiatives. 



In addition to evidence-based research, we also collaborate on research projects with UK patient safety organisations.  



Our stakeholders and partners

To promote patient safety, Patient Safety work closely with:


  • Medical royal colleges
  • Frontline staff and organisations
  • Patient groups
  • Strategic health authorities
  • Other NHS bodies
  • Academic centres
  • Non-healthcare sectors


All our stakeholders play a part in improving patient safety. They do this by:


  • Contributing reports
  • Providing advice and expertise
  • Collaborating on research projects
  • Educating and retraining their staff
  • Disseminating information to staff, patients, their carers and families


As well as learning from reporting, we also run information campaigns to highlight the importance of patient safety within the NHS.



By supporting NHS trusts to improve the hand hygiene of their staff, the cleanyourhands campaign helps the NHS in England and Wales reduce the spread of healthcare associated infections.


Patient Safety First

The Patient Safety First campaign was been created to change the culture within the NHS in England so that the safety of patients is the highest priority.


1000 Lives

The goal of the 1000 Lives Campaign campaign is to reduce risks to patient safety by implementing life-saving interventions developed by clinicians in Wales. In this way, the campaign aims to save 1000 lives.