Making a positive difference to Patient Safety – Preparing for PSIRF

As we near our first ever Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF) Conference in Birmingham, Linda Jones, Head of Patient Safety & Quality Governance at IHPN, writes about the significant changes that introducing a new approach to managing risk and patient safety will entail for the independent sector, and how we’re supporting members to be ready. 

NHS England (NHSE) published the new  Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF) in August 2022 outlining how organisations providing NHS-funded care should respond to patient safety incidents to facilitate ongoing learning and improvement.   

From Autumn 2023, PSIRF will replace the current Serious Incident Framework. It will change the way all healthcare providers, which deliver NHS funded care, including independent healthcare organisations respond to patient safety incidents.  

Using a range of systems-based and proportionate approach to reviewing, learning and improvement, PSIRF aims to involve staff, patients and their families when a patient safety incident occurs, prioritising engagement and compassion.  

PSIRF is a major step towards improving safety management across independent healthcare, shifting culture to consider the wider healthcare system.  

Organisations have been on a 12-month period of preparation before transitioning to PSIRF. NHSE has a variety of resources on its website to support the transition. There is a framework document, accompanied by a number of guidance documents, specifications and templates. In addition, we at the IHPN are providing support for our members. 

Here at IHPN, we facilitate regular meetings with national teams such as the NHSE Patient Safety Response Team, NHSE Patient Safety Partners Team and the National Coroner’s Office. We’ve also facilitated a range of Lunch & Learn sessions with NHSE, PSIRF education specialists, ICB’s, Care Quality Commission (CQC), the National Coroner’s Office and Patient Safety Partners to share learnings across the independent sector.   

Overall, nearly all the patient safety experts I speak too are enthusiastic and positive, that adopting the ways of working set out via PSIRF will be a step forward for the sector, and for patient safety overall, no matter who is delivering the care. 

However, it is no small undertaking, and colleagues are understandably concerned about getting this right, and getting everything in place. One of the things we are having to tackle, for example, are the subtle nuances of how some of the principles (which have understandably been formed in the context of operating within the NHS) might work in practice in the independent sector, where models of governance, reporting and structure are different.  

For all these reasons, this is why we are running a conference which will focus on all of these issues, and I have to say, I’m really looking forward to it! 

More than 60 delegates have signed up, ranging from Clinical Leaders, Clinical Governance Leads, Patient Safety Leads and PSIRF Leads and the venue will provide excellent an opportunity for collaboration and networking.  

The event, supported by Medical Protection Society (MPS) Partnerships aims to explore the practicalities of implementing PSIRF and ensuring the focus is on learning from improvement. There will also be extended focus on learning, speaking up for safety, just culture and quality improvement.  

It’s going to be a packed day – as the below sets out…! 

Dr Katie Grant, Risk Prevention Medicolegal Lead at Medical Protection will be talking about the principles of a ‘just culture’ and the importance of speaking up, exploring why a safety culture is so important for both patient and clinician safety and wellbeing. Katie originally specialised in anaesthesia and intensive care.  

Deborah Widdowson, Assistant Director of Quality Improvement (QI) and Midlands Regional Patient Safety Specialist will be talking to us about bridging the gap between patient safety and quality improvement. 

Then we’ll be hearing from colleagues who’ve worked in and around the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – they are an “early adopter” of this approach, so the insights of Lucy Winstanley, Head of Patient Safety and Quality, Patient Safety Specialist, and Megan Pontin, Patient Safety Incident Investigator, will be very valuable, supported by Hannah Taylor, Partner at Bevan Brittan LLP.  

After lunch we’ll hear from Claire Land, Policy Manager from the Care Quality Commission who will be sharing with us her views as to how PSIRF aligns to CQC’s strategic ambitions.  

Melanie Whitfield, Associate Director of Patient Safety, Clinical Governance and Risk Management, Trust Patient Safety Specialist at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will share her experience of implementation of Patient Safety Partners in the trust. 

Wendy Stobbs, Head of Programmes at Health Innovation Manchester will describe the role of AHSN patient safety collaboratives, and how they have been supporting the five NHSE National Patient Safety Commissions; and the current focus on System Safety and PSIRF in particular.   

Then, Emma Watson will share with us her experience of being involved in a patient safety incident and what learnings we can all take away when supporting staff through an incident. Emma currently works as PSIRF Implementation Lead for Circle Health Group.  

Bringing the day to an end, a panel session will be held with various speakers where attendees will have the opportunity to ask a variety of questions to the panel members and to provide an opportunity to share learnings from PSIRF transition within their organisations.  

So, a brilliant day lined up and I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone who’ll be journeying up, down or across to Birmingham to what will be a fantastic and thought-provoking event.