Last reviewed 12 January 2022

The Government has announced that it intends to proceed with the proposals to recruit a Patient Safety Commissioner, following a public consultation between June and August 2021 regarding the appointment and operation of the new role.

The Patient Safety Commissioner will add to and enhance existing work to improve patient safety by acting as a champion for patients and promoting the importance of the views of patients and the public in relation to the safety of medicines and medical devices.

The new role comes in response to the second recommendation of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review: First Do No Harm, published in July 2020 by Baroness Cumberlege, which looked into the consequences of the use of Primodos, sodium valproate and pelvic mesh, and its effects on patient safety.

The role was brought into law by Part 1 of the Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021, which received royal assent on 11 February 2021; section 1 establishes the position and sets out its core duties.

The Patient Safety Commissioner will serve for an initial term of three years, and can be reappointed to serve for an additional three years, giving them up to six years in office. The position will also be remunerated.

The Patient Safety Commissioner will produce an annual business plan and take reasonable steps to consult before publishing each plan. They shall also publish an annual report to explain activities they have undertaken during the year in relation to their core duties. To undertake their role effectively, they may also appoint an advisory board, to help engage with a wide range of voices.

The consultation sought views on a range of topics from terms of office to remuneration. Each of the nine proposals were supported by more than half of respondents, ranging from 59% to 91% in agreement.

The Government’s response document is available here.