PSIRF: Patient Safety Incident Response Framework

NHS PSIRF logo What is PSIRF?

We treat millions of people in the NHS. Sometimes things can go wrong in an unintended or unexpected way. These are known as Patient Safety Incidents.

When these things happen, we use the ‘Patient Safety Incident Response Framework’ or PSIRF for short to look at what happened, understand why it happened and make changes to make it safer.  

PSIRF suggests different ways to examine incidents and was set up so that everyone affected is involved with making changes when an incident occurs – from doctors and nurses to patients and families. It gives us as an NHS Trust more flexibility in the way we examine incidents and make changes for the better.

PSIRF also makes the way we examine incidents more compassionate to all people involved.

If you are interested in learning more, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust's PSIRF plan can be downloaded here [12MB].


What does PSIRF mean for patients?

In the NHS we have a Duty of Candour. This means that, when something has gone wrong with a person’s care, our colleagues will say sorry and explain what has happened.

We will also record and, if needed, use PSIRF to understand how the happened and learn from it.

You will have one NHS person as your contact. They will provide you with all the information on your incident.

While examining incidents can take time, we will keep you up to date with the findings and tell you what we have found out on what happened, and what changes we will be making to improve.


If I think there is a danger to patient safety, what do I do?

Please do let the medical team caring for you if you think your safety is in any way at risk due to your treatment.

A member of your family, or your carer, or even a friend can do this for you.


Who from the NHS will get involved with a patient safety incident?

Many different people who work for us have responsibility for patient safety. This includes colleagues who provide healthcare directly like healthcare assistants, doctors and nurses.

It also includes colleagues who do not provide healthcare directly, like our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Nurse, and lots of other people who meet regularly to discuss patient safety problems and solutions.

Sometimes these are people who work for our local NHS, but sometimes we will involve groups with members from across south London.

Thanks to PSIRF, the things we learn from incidents can even be shared across the country.

We also have special Public Voice Partners who make sure the voices of the public are heard when we are making decisions. PSIRF helps make it clear what all of these people need to do.


What does the NHS say about PSIRF?

The below video from NHS England explains PSIRF in an easy-to-follow way: