National Patient Safety Agency

National Patient Safety Agency

The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) is a special health authority of the National Health Service (NHS) in England. It was created to monitor patient safety incidents, including medication and prescribing error reporting, in the NHS.

Since 1 April 2005 it has also overseen safety aspects of hospital design and cleanliness, as well as food (transferred from NHS Estates). Its remit now includes safety in medical research, through the Central Office for Research Ethics Committees (COREC). It runs the National Clinical Assessment Service that deals with concerns about the performance of individual doctors and dentists. Finally, it also manages the contracts with the three confidential enquiries (NCEPOD, CEMACH and CISH). This responsibility was transferred from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

As well as making sure that incidents are reported in the first place, the NPSA is "aiming to promote an open and fair culture in hospitals and across the health service, encouraging doctors and other staff to report incidents and 'near misses'." In various publications it has encouraged the creation of a "no-blame culture" to encourage staff to report incidents without fear of personal reprimand and know that by sharing their experiences others will be able to learn lessons and improve patient safety. The NPSA collects and analyses information from staff and patients via a national reporting and learning system, as well as from other sources. If there is a trend of incidents, it may issue reports, recommendations and guidance to avoid repetition.

The current chief executive of the NPSA is Martin Fletcher.

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