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HSSIB open public consultation for healthcare stakeholders

GS1 UK response to the Health Services Safety Investigations Body call for feedback.

Theatre nurse using medical equipment

HSSIB open a public consultation inviting feedback on its strategy and investigation criteria.

The Health Services Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB) came into operation in October 2023 – an evolution of the former HSIB (Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch).

HSSIB is “a fully independent arm’s length body of the Department of Health and Social Care” that investigates “patient safety concerns across the NHS in England and in independent healthcare settings where safety learning could also help to improve NHS care.”

Healthcare meeting

As part of the new framework, the HSSIB have opened a public consultation – Consultation on strategy and investigation criteria – encouraging healthcare stakeholders to provide feedback on:

  • The HSSIB strategy (including mission, vision and themes)
  • The investigation criteria (the criteria and principles for HSSIB investigations such as available evidence, extent of risk, and the potential for improving care provision)

The consultation is scheduled to close on Thursday 16 May with submissions gathered via an online survey which can be accessed via the link below. 

GS1 UK's position

As a neutral, not-for-profit, membership organisation, we work with healthcare stakeholders to support safer, more efficient care for all using our standards for unique identification.

We fully support and value the work of the HSSIB and would like to use the opportunity to provide additional considerations as part of its strategy and investigative framework.

The strategy (including mission, vision and themes). Full details can be found here.

      Our commentary in relation to the five core themes:

  • Deliver high-quality, impactful independent safety investigations
  • Place people at the core of our work
  • Be a strong, inclusive voice for patient safety across healthcare
  • Promote and professionalise healthcare investigations
  • Embed a compassionate, inclusive culture across our organisation

The investigation criteria and principles. Full details can be found here.

        Our commentary in relation to the six key criteria:

  • Systemic risk - what is the breadth of the systemic risk?
  • Potential impact - what are the impacts of the systemic risk?
  • Added value/unexplored territory - is there potential to add value by carrying out an investigation?
  • Potential for improvement - would an investigation drive positive change and improve patient safety?
  • Equality, diversity, inclusion and deprivation - would carrying out an investigation reduce health disparities?
  • How easy will it be to carry out an investigation?

GS1 UK commentary

In relation to themes 1, 3 and 4, we support objectives to work closely with, and leverage the expertise of partners to ensure recommendations address risks – particularly when it comes to global learnings from similar investigations. Educational programmes will help to reinforce best practice and disseminate learnings from international colleagues.

Patient on a ward

In order to ensure recommendations “make a tangible impact through effective implementation”, a systematic process of re-review could help ensure recommendations have not only been addressed and implemented but also have resulted in tangible patient safety improvements.

If investigations are revisited systematically e.g. every 3–5 years, it might be possible to gauge a better national picture of the impact of HSSIB recommendations. This would help to build best practice models for other healthcare provider organisations to consider or implement.

For the assessment criteria, it would be difficult to determine the systemic risk and impact without systemic solutions and standards in place. These measures would support interoperability which would make it easier to compare and analyse risk levels.

Our view is that the breath of stakeholder engagement should routinely include input from healthcare solution providers – namely those that operate globally such as providers of electronic patient record systems (EPRs). Working collaboratively with dominant market players in such fields could invoke change at a larger scale due to the international coverage which broadens the impact potential.

Furthermore, global organisations can provide unique learnings and insights from other healthcare systems and their approaches to improving patient safety. This could help support the HSSIB aim to “develop world-leading investigation models” as well as inform learnings from recommendations.

Deadline for feedback

The online survey closes on Thursday 16 May. Please do take the time to share your thoughts.