PACAC Chair welcomes inclusion of Health Service Safety Investigations Bill in Queen’s Speech

16 October 2019

Committee's recommendations followed on independent body for patient safety

In its report examining the PHSO report: Ignoring the alarms: How NHS eating disorders services are failing patients, PACAC welcomed the work undertaken to date by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) in investigating the causes of clinical incidents, and called for it to be given full statutory underpinning and independence.

Following this, the Government yesterday outlined plans for a Bill that would “establish the world’s first independent body to investigate patient safety concerns and share recommendations to prevent incidents occurring.” Among the main elements proposed are establishing the Health Service Safety Investigations Body as a new Executive Non-Departmental Public Body.

The Bill today received its First Reading in the House of Lords, and will be published on Wednesday. This was confirmed by Under-Secretary of State for Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Patient Safety Nadine Dorries MP in her appearance before PACAC today, where she highlighted the Committee’s work on the issue, stating that it had “kept this car on the road to the point where we are now.”

Chair's comments

Commenting on the announcement, PACAC Chair Sir Bernard Jenkin MP said:

“My Committee has consistently argued that if the tragic circumstances which lead to avoidable in-care deaths and other serious incidents are to be avoided in the future, lessons must be learned. Investigations that do not attribute blame but rather ensure that a statutory ‘safe space’ for NHS clinicians, patients and their families to speak freely are a key part of enabling such learning.

“Our conclusions reflected best practice from other sectors’ safety investigation bodies, as well as testimony from witnesses and those who submitted evidence to our inquiries.

“Government proposals for a Health Service Safety Investigations Bill included in the Queen’s Speech are therefore to be welcomed, and the Bill must now be introduced to Parliament without delay for further scrutiny and debate.”

Further information

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