Comment

20.12.17

What is the HSIB?

NHE’s Seamus McDonnell looks into the purpose of the health service’s newest investigator.

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) is the newest addition to hospital safety investigations, the equivalent to the rail and air accident investigation branches.

The new body is specifically charged with investigations into incidents that have happened within the NHS. However, HSIB is not an inspector like the CQC or a regulator like NHS Improvement (NHSI); in fact, it is a relatively small organisation – with only around 30 members conducting investigations.

In accordance with this, it is only resourced to investigate up to 30 incidents every year, albeit over long periods and in great detail.

Keith Conradi, its chief investigator (pictured), spent some time at the NHS Providers annual conference in November explaining the purpose of HSIB and his vision for the direction he expected it to take. As the former chief investigator at the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, Conradi was keen to illustrate the different approach his independent organisation would take to safety.

The body’s key objective is to improve patient safety by determining the causes of incidents rather than pointing out organisations or individuals who are specifically at fault. “Absolutely crucial to us is the fact that we are not here to apportion blame or liability,” he explained. “We go to great lengths in our process to ensure we do not do that because sometimes, even when you are trying not to do it, what you write can push blame or liability in a particular direction.

“That does not mean that there will not be other investigations in future that may be looking at a more judicial view of what has happened, but we are all about safety investigation.”

How it works

There are no mandated incidents or types of event which HSIB will be expected to inspect. Instead, it has been left in the hands of the investigators themselves to choose what should be scrutinised.

During the investigations themselves, the organisation will make recommendations to other bodies involving particular actions aimed at improving safety for patients and, at the end of a case, will publish findings publicly in order to help promote better practice. However, Conradi said these recommendations would be aimed at top-level national bodies, not local organisations – the likes of NHSI rather than individual trusts.

He also explained that the small number of investigations done each year will be subject to very clear guidelines, in order to ensure the wider system benefits from every case.

“We ask ourselves, how bad was the outcome? We are looking for a very serious adverse outcome or the potential for that,” said the chief investigator. “Then we filter it down and ask, is this symptomatic of a more widespread problem? We really want to concentrate on systemic problems.

“Finally, what is the learning potential for the HSIB going in to investigate this? Are there other people who we may have confidence in going in to investigate this? Are there national studies being done on this? Do we really want to waste our resources if there are others already involved in this?”

It is possible for anyone to request an investigation through the branch’s website; however, the criteria are extremely strict due to the limited resources available.

The investigator is not just aimed at acute services: it has the remit of following cases “wherever NHS money goes,” meaning it will research primary care as well as the social care sector. It even has the ability to search through other body’s investigations, such as the CQC’s work, and has the freedom to interview anyone relevant to a case.

To date, HSIB has instituted nine investigations, although none have been completed yet.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

W: www.hsib.org.uk

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Two Cumbrian NHS Trusts approved for merger

20/09/2019Two Cumbrian NHS Trusts approved for merger

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) have had their plans to merge into one tr... more >
British Dental Association to protect children who miss dental appointments

20/09/2019British Dental Association to protect children who miss dental appointments

Community and special care dentistry experts at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have helped to develop a toolkit as a way to sa... more >
NHS calls on remaining social media companies to clamp down on ‘potentially harmful material’

19/09/2019NHS calls on remaining social media companies to clamp down on ‘potentially harmful material’

The chief executive of the NHS in England has urged remaining social media firms to get tougher on potentially harmful material being posted onli... more >

681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

23/08/2019An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

Grey Giddins, member of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, discusses how hand care and injury prevention have become increasingly important given the UK’s ageing population   It’s no secret that the UK’s ageing population presents challenges for the NHS. The fact that we are living longer means greater demand for medical care across a number of healthcare specialisms, one of which is hand surgery. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

interviews

NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >

last word

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The gender pay gap in the NHS remains a hotly debated topic, especially as the final report from the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine Review approaches. Andrea Hester, deputy director of employment rel... more > more last word articles >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

health service focus

What commissioners need to transform healthcare

04/09/2019What commissioners need to transform healthcare

Dr Graham Jackson, co-chair at NHS Clinical C... more >
From post office to national health service

03/09/2019From post office to national health service

Rob Houghton, the chief operations officer fo... more >