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The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB)

HSIB became operational on 1st April 2017. Its purpose is to improve safety through effective and independent investigations that don’t apportion blame or liability.

Although HSIB is funded by the Department of Health and hosted by NHS, they operate independently. They’re also independent from regulatory bodies like the Care Quality Commission (CQC). By offering a new perspective and developing meaningful and influential recommendations they  aim to drive positive change at a wider level.

HSIB objectives:

  • conduct thorough, independent, impartial and timely investigations into clinical incidents
  • engage patients and relatives, NHS staff, and medical organisations throughout the investigation process
  • help the patients and relatives understand ‘what happened?’ and what’s being done to prevent similar events in the future
  • produce clearly written, thorough and concise reports with well-founded analysis and conclusions that explain the circumstances and causes of clinical incidents without attributing blame
  • make safety recommendations to improve patient safety
  • improve patient safety by sharing the lessons learned from investigations as widely as possible
  • raise the standard of local investigations of healthcare safety incidents by establishing common standards and skills development

What they investigate and why

HSIB carry out up to 30 investigations a year – they must have occurred in England within NHS funded care and after 1st April 2017

Any issues for potential investigation can be shared by patients, family members, carers, concerned members of staff, as well as providers and regulations. Our decision to start an investigation could relate to a single event, a series of events, or even an area we identified through current investigations.

“Every case is assessed against our criteria. Even if it doesn’t meet those requirements, we are keen to always look at the broader picture. This means that every case is logged in our data base and is regularly reviewed. Data and information are crucial to improvement, as it will help us to identify consistent themes and emerging patterns of safety issues over time.

We believe the most effective learning can be drawn from thorough investigations and produce meaningful recommendations that are shared at a wider level. By not attributing blame or liability, asking the right questions, and gaining different perspectives we can reduce the risk of something similar happening in the future.”

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