Providing a 'safe space' in healthcare safety investigations

Closed 16 Dec 2016

Opened 17 Oct 2016

Feedback expected 16 Jan 2017


We want NHS staff to learn from their experiences as care givers, including from any mistakes they may have made. Sometimes staff fear that they will be blamed for making mistakes, which makes them reluctant to discuss their experiences. We therefore want to create a ‘safe space’ – where they can speak up about incidents without the fear that they will be punished.

The proposal outlined in this consultation is to create a statutory prohibition on the disclosure of material obtained during certain health service investigations. That is, information that staff provide as part of a health service investigation will be kept confidential except where there is an immediate risk to patient safety, or where the High Court makes an order permitting disclosure. This broadly mirrors the regime followed in the area of air accidents investigations, and will improve patient safety standards.

Why we are consulting

We want to create a balanced safe space and to make sure the proposal both reassures staff that the information they provide will not be passed on and also reassures patients and families that they will be given the full facts of their, or their loved ones’, care.



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