Patient safety alerts

Patient safety alerts are official notices issued by NHS England which give advice or instructions to NHS bodies on how to prevent specific types of incidents which are known to occur in the NHS and cause serious harm or death.

AvMA’s research has shown that these alerts are not always complied with in a timely manner, leaving patients at unnecessary risk. AvMA continues to press regulators to closely monitor compliance with these alerts and take action over non-compliance.

In January 2020 we published a report showing that the NHS is ‘losing its memory’ on patient safety alerts. Authored by Dr David Cousins, former head of safe medication practice at the National Patient Safety Agency, NHS England and NHS Improvement, the report reveals serious delays in NHS trusts implementing patient safety alerts which are one of the main ways in which the NHS seeks to prevent known patient safety risks harming or killing patients.

The report also identifies serious problems with the system of issuing patient safety alerts and monitoring compliance with them. Compliance with alerts issued under the now abolished National Patient Safety Agency and NHS England are no longer monitored – even though patient safety incidents continue to be reported to the NHS National Reporting and Learning System.

Read the full report here:

“An organisation losing its memory? Patient safety alerts implementation, monitoring and regulation in England”

And view our resource of Patient Safety Alerts from 2002 to 2019 here:

Patient Safety Alerts 2002 – 2019

NOTE: NHS England have issued guidance for the NHS on Enduring Standards and General Principles from previously issued Patient Safety Alerts