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Patient Safety

The delivery of high quality, safe patient care relies on a resilient supply of high quality, safe products. Our Patient Safety team is part of our Resilience function – with a vision built on the foundations of patient safety first.

For any queries or questions on Patient Safety please contact:

Patient Safety Team


We support and enable the NHS to maintain continuity of high quality, safe patient care delivery.

Wherever it is possible, we proactively work with both clinicians and suppliers to prevent patient and end user safety issues.

Our processes also allow us to very quickly identify and respond to risk factors, safety issues and supply disruption that has the potential to cause harm. By focusing on quality and safety, we are making it easier for the NHS to put patients first.

Clinician and patient

Risk stratified and clinically assured frameworks

Working in collaboration with our category experts, all new products are clinically assured as fit for purpose, safe and meeting end user needs.

Our assurance framework ensures that each procurement is underpinned by evidence, and expert input from a wide range of stakeholders.

This includes patients and users, as well as national clinical expert bodies such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT). 

Essential specifications and human factors design

Our collaborative due diligence process takes a holistic view of specification development – considering factors such as technical and physical requirements, safety standards and human factors.

Human factors describes all of the different elements that can have an impact on the delivery of care. It can include anything from our environment to the way a product is designed, and even our own personal knowledge and experience.

To improve safety it is essential that human factor and design principles are embedded into the specifications for devices. Focusing on how products are actually used plays a vital role in ensuring that products and devices will have a positive impact on patient care.

Information for Clinical Choice

Providing all of the technical information in one place makes it easier to select the right product. The criteria are provided in the form of a Product Matrix and Support Document. 

See our Useful Links section for ‘Information for Clinical Choice’ documents, which can help us to:

  • Share safety insights and improve a detailed understanding of the products provided.
  • Empower clinicians to overcome the challenges of choosing the right product for their needs.

Designed by registered clinicians, the documents are the result of direct engagement with healthcare providers who are using the products to treat patients.

Our clinicians also work closely with resilience teams, patient safety, category managers, suppliers and clinical experts within the NHS. This ensures that any patient safety risk that could be caused by a product being unavailable is minimised.

Clinician ordering from tablet

All of the available options are assessed to understand the impact and the mitigations available to ensure patient safety at the point of care.

Working with national stakeholders

We have a responsibility to share knowledge, to enable and support system responses to patient safety issues. This helps to align NHS Supply Chain patient safety intelligence with the wider system.

We work closely with our colleagues at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), NHS England Patient Safety team and Health Service Safety Investigation Body (HSSIB), amongst others.

Supporting national supply chain resilience, patient safety is a key part of our resilience function. We ensure that the ‘so what’ clinical impact of supply disruptions is heard, and considered as part of the resolution process.

Managing product complaints or safety concerns quickly when they arise

We respond quickly, assess and deal with issues effectively, and learn lessons for the future.

Each complaint is reviewed against a scoring matrix, which helps us to understand exactly what (if any) safety risk is associated with it, and determines how we deal with it.  

Complaints may reach us from a number of routes.  We have a team of clinical experts in house who work closely with our NHS partners, supporting the flow of information in relation to safety concerns.

Care pathway leads are the clinical interface between organisational health care professionals and procurement teams. Their primary focus is customer and patient need.

Supplier relationship management

We allocate resources to the right relationships in order to engage in effective joint business planning and collaboration.

Having a structured Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) framework and approach enables us to drive a holistic and structured way of working with suppliers.

This approach helps to deliver growth, value and innovation, and minimise risk.  Having strong relationships with suppliers means we can work closely with them to share intelligence on patient safety incidents and work together swiftly to respond.

Learning lessons for the future

Proactively, the intelligence we gather that is linked to product supply disruptions also feeds the intelligence linked to framework renewals. This ensures that resilience is embedded in new frameworks.

We are continuously learning and growing that intelligence, which in turn is growing the resilience intelligence we have within NHS Supply Chain.