Development of IPSIS
The Department of Health is setting up a new organisation, the Independent Patient Safety Investigation Service (IPSIS). This will be launched in April 2016, and carry out specific investigations about patient safety in the NHS, as well as provide support and guidance to NHS organisations.
IPSIS will form as a result of a merger between Monitor and NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA), acting in a similar role to the airline industry’s investigatory body. According to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt IPSIS will seek to instil a “no blame learning culture”.
An Expert Advisory Group has been set up to make recommendations on how IPSIS will work. In a public survey it hopes to hear from patients, families and health care professionals about how they think IPSIS should be run, and how far its remit should extend.
Many of the questions asked in the survey are in response to the Public Administration Select Committee’s report on investigating clinical incidents in the NHS. The report highlights issues dealing with the voluntary nature of NHS staff testimony through to the reluctance of NHS trusts to co-operate with the investigation of complaints.
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said:
“The Patients Association welcomes the creation of the investigation service, but there are concerns over how it might operate in practice. Our concern is how this body will be established and whether its independence will be guaranteed in legislation. It is also unclear what, if any, powers it will have to investigate NHS providers, or impose its recommendations upon them. However, if we want improvement, to promote learning from incidents and to improve and maintain effective patient safety, then a function like this is absolutely critical.”