RCP policy: patient safety

Patient safety is a key priority for the RCP. We believe there must be a shift in the NHS from a place where there is an assumption that care is safe until something goes wrong, to a team working environment that minimises the chances of harm, builds in safety to daily practice, and is open, supportive and facilitates learning when  error occurs.

What we are doing

The RCP works in a number of ways to improve patient safety:

  • Influence the national agenda on patient safety to ensure that the regulatory, policy, and political landscape supports physicians and their teams to deliver safe healthcare.
  • Support physicians and their teams with the information needed to identify risks to patient safety or a patient safety incident.
  • Build the capability of physicians and their teams to work together for safer care, including responding to identified patient safety risks or incidents. 
  • Support physicians and their teams to review systems and processes and build prevention into their local healthcare system. 
  • Support doctors who have been affected by or need to raise patient safety issues. 
  • Clarifying national priorities, and work with others to support implementation.

What we have produced

Patient safety is a key priority for the RCP.

This RCP working party report describes the staffing that is needed to ensure safe, timely and effective medical care for patients in hospital.
'Advancing medical professionalism', developed in consultation with healthcare professionals, patients and other stakeholders, aims to help doctors improve their professionalism in practical ways.

Supporting junior doctors in safe prescribing is a new guide for supporting junior doctors when prescribing in hospitals, built on published evidence and best practice. 

A resource on the three core factors that determine the working of ‘good’ healthcare teams: effective leadership and governance, clear roles and responsibilities, and supportive team dynamics.
Advice on healthcare team culture - defined as the ‘rules’ and beliefs that team members hold, that influence how the group interacts and does its work.
The third resource in the Improving teams in healthcare series presents some of the worrying literature on the impacts of insufficient communication.
The fourth resource in the Improving teams in healthcare series explains why team development is such an integral part of efficient working.
'Never too busy to learn', supported by Health Education England, helps healthcare teams make the most of daily learning opportunities in the workplace. 
The NMCRR aims to improve understanding and learning about problems and processes in healthcare associated with mortality, and also to share best practice.