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Legislate for an independent healthcare safety investigations body in the NHS

Last updated: 03:29pm 21 June 2019

We will legislate for an independent healthcare safety investigations body in the NHS.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.69

Our verdict

There are an estimated “24,000 serious incidents of healthcare harm in the NHS each year, and research suggests that around 150 deaths each week could have been avoidable were it not for problems in care”. As part of its promise to help the NHS become the safest healthcare system in the world, this policy is a commitment to legislate to create an independent healthcare safety investigations body.

In September 2017, the government published the draft Health Service Safety Investigations Bill, which proposed the establishment of a new body to fulfil this manifesto pledge, the Health Service Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB). When the draft bill was published, the government said:

“The HSSIB will conduct investigations which focus on learning from patient safety incidents in the NHS, to reduce health care harm and improve patient care.”

A committee of MPs and peers was appointed to examine the draft bill and published its report containing a number of suggested amendments in July 2018.

In December 2018, the government published its response to the committee’s report, taking into account the committee’s recommendations, and said it would “look to introduce a revised bill soon”.

Although the 2019 NHS Long Term Plan made no mention of the proposed HSSIB, there is enough evidence that the government intends to follow through with this legislation for us to mark this as ‘in progress’. We’ll keep tracking to see when the new bill emerges, so follow this policy to stay up to date.

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