Patient Safety Incident Response Framework – out this month. Transition deadline: Autumn 2023

So we have a new acronym to add to our repertoire – PSIRF (pronounced Pea Surf!).

The Serious Incident Framework from 2015 is to be replaced with this Patient Safety Incident Response Framework .


This is described as a fundamental shift in how the NHS responds to patient safety incidents.  It promotes a proportionate approach to responding to patient safety incidents.


Organisations are expected to transition to PSIRF within 12 months of its publication and transition should be completed by Autumn 2023.


PSIRF is a contractual requirement under the NHS Standard Contract so is mandatory for:

  • Acute, Mental Health, Community Healthcare providers – including maternity and specialised services
  • Organisations that provide NHS funded secondary care under the contract but who are not NHS Trusts or FTs (and they may apply the approach to their other services)

It is not a requirement for Primary Care (although they are told to work with their ICB if they wish to adopt it).  There are to be some “early adopters” to explore how it can be adapted to primary care.


This embodies all aspects of the NHS Patient Safety Strategy which we covered in an earlier blog New NHS patient safety strategy: The ‘golden thread’ - Mills & Reeve (

There are 4 key aims:

  1. Compassionate engagement and involvement of those affected by patient safety incidents
  2. Application of a range of system based approaches to learning from patient safety incidents
  3. Considered and proportionate responses to patient safety incidents
  4. Supportive oversight focussed on strengthening response system functioning and improvement

Documents to assist

The PSIRF is to be applied to the development and maintenance of your patient safety incident response plan and policy.   There are national templates available for both.

In addition there are five sets of supporting documentation:

  1. Preparation guide: describing the steps organisations should take to plan and prepare for implementation
  2. Guidance: on engaging those affected by patient safety incidents
  3. Guide: to responding proportionately
  4. Specification: for roles and responsibilities for those overseeing a response
  5. Standards: including training requirements

Everything you need is contained in NHS England » Patient Safety Incident Response Framework .  You will find videos from early adopters – acute,  mental health and commissioner.


The PSIF states that when a response is required that is not focussed on learning for patient safety improvement (Inquests / Criminal Investigations / FTP or employments issues) it should be conducted entirely separately.

So lots to digest.

We will be producing further briefings and training for readers.

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Every piece of content we create is correct on the date it’s published but please don’t rely on it as legal advice. If you’d like to speak to us about your own legal requirements, please contact one of our expert lawyers.

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