Last reviewed 15 June 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has launched a consultation on proposed legislative details on the appointment and operation of the new Patient Safety Commissioner for England.

The proposals cover a range of topics related to the appointment and operation of the Patient Safety Commissioner, including the terms of office for the role, remuneration and funding, and the establishment of an advisory panel to support the Commissioner. The DHSC’s objective is to ensure that the appointment and operation is as efficient and effective as possible.

The DHSC said the consultation, which closes on 5 August 2021, was not looking to revisit policy decisions on the scope or core duties of the Commissioner, which are now enshrined in the Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021.

The Government said good progress has been made on patient safety in the NHS, including through the NHS Patient Safety Strategy, which seeks to improve the way in which the NHS learns, treats staff, and involves patients, and through initiatives such as Freedom to Speak Up Guardians, which were introduced to help protect and encourage staff to speak up when things go wrong. It said the Commissioner will “add to and enhance this existing work to improve patient safety by acting as a champion for patients and helping us to learn more about what we can do to put patients first”.

The core of the new role will be to promote the safety of patients in the context of the use of medicines and medical devices, and to promote the importance of the views of patients and other members of the public in relation to the safety of medicines and medical devices.

The establishment of a Patient Safety Commissioner is intended to help bridge the gaps identified in the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, First Do No Harm, here, published in July 2020 by Baroness Cumberlege, regarding strengthening patient voice and influence. Her review examined the consequences of the use of Primodos, sodium valproate and pelvic mesh, and its effects on patient safety.

More information about the consultation is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-appointment-and-operation-of-the-patient-safety-commissioner