National organisations will be required to standardise the way they issue patient safety alerts within the next 12 months, following the launch of national patient safety alerts at a conference in London held on 17 September 2019 to mark World Patient Safety Day.
The alerts come after the creation of the National Patient Safety Alerting Committee (NaPSAC) in 2018 and form part of the ‘NHS Patient Safety Strategy’, published by NHS England and NHS Improvement in July 2019. The aim of the new alert system is to improve the response to emerging risks in the NHS and support local systems to act on safety-critical issues.
Currently, the chief medical officer for England, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, NHS Digital, NHS England, NHS Improvement, the national patient safety team and Public Health England all issue safety messages, notices, letters and alerts through the central alerting system (CAS).
Under the new system, the alerts will still be sent through the CAS, but all organisations that issue national safety alerts will be required to use a single standardised national patient safety alert template.
The strategy said that a single format for alerts will make it “much easier” for local systems to see what they need to do, by when and why.
Before being accredited to use the new template, each organisation will be assessed to ensure they meet the NaPSAC’s requirements. It is hoped that all organisations will be approved within the next year and, during this time, there will be a period of dual running with some organisations still using their existing formats for alerts.