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Improving reporting

Tools and guidance to help organisations improve their reporting levels.


  • Engage frontline staff and management. To stimulate reporting within organisations and demonstrate the importance of reporting, we recommend chief executives (pdf) share their organisation's report with the Board, risk and integrated governance team, and clinical staff. See page 42 of Seven Steps to Patient Safety: Step 6 - Learn and share safety lessons.

  • Report regularly. Trusts that report incidents regularly suggest a stronger organisational culture of safety. They take all incidents seriously and link reporting with learning. Incident reports should be submitted to the Reporting and Learning System (RLS) at least monthly. Report here.

  • Report serious incidents quickly. It is vital that healthcare staff report serious safety risks promptly so that lessons can be learned and action taken to protect harm to others. Report here.

  • Make reporting matter. Organisations should review the steps they can take to increase reporting. Read Act on Reporting: five actions to improve patient safety reporting.

  • Ensure consistency. A consistent approach to coding the degree of harm by NHS organisations ensures that the NPSA can compare and analyse data nationally to take action to improve patient safety. National definitions can be found on page 100 of Seven Steps to Patient Safety.