The AHSN Network is thrilled to see ‘Improving Patient Safety Culture – a practical guide’ released by NHS England this week.

The new guide, developed by NHS England in association with the AHSN Patient Safety Collaboratives, supports teams to understand their culture and how to approach improving it.

It is intended to be used across health and social care to support everyone to improve the safety culture in their organisation or area, specifically focusing on:

  • TeamworkText reads: NHS 75. Improving patient safety culture - a practical guide
  • Communication
  • Just culture
  • Psychological safety
  • Promoting diversity and inclusive behaviours
  • Civility

Teams should use the guide to find the most relevant way for their local context to start to improve their culture. It will support teams to explore different approaches to help them to create windows into their daily work to help them to understand their local safety culture.

A supportive culture enables individuals to openly talk about and raise patient safety concerns, without fear of blame, reprimand or intimidation, ensuring that teams, and the broader NHS, can learn from these events to make care safer. It helps to shift to a just and restorative culture where the focus is on understanding and learning. It maximises the learning opportunities, so underlying issues around safe systems and ways of working can be identified and addressed.

Safety culture is one of the two key foundations of the NHS patient safety strategy. The guide builds on the NHS People Plan, which recognised the importance of an inclusive and compassionate culture to ensure that we have the best care that we can.

The AHSN Network would like to congratulate everyone who was involved in the Patient Safety Collaborative culture workstream, some of whom are acknowledged below:

Joanna Pendray, John Illingworth, Bernard Allen, Caroline Angel, Peter Jeffries, Nathalie Delaney, and Jane Reid all worked for the AHSN Network and supported the development of the patient safety culture toolkit.

Dr Cheryl Crocker, AHSN Network Patient Safety Director, commented:

“Whilst some of those named above have moved on to new pastures, the work continues through our Patient Safety Collaborative commission. Culture is an enabling function throughout all our work, when the culture is right, we see the biggest improvements in patient safety. We also support the development of a patient safety culture through our work by ‘doing improvement’, supporting, coaching and enabling teams on the front line to make improvements for their patients.”

See the new ‘Improving patient safety culture – A practical guide’ here.



  • Meet the innovator: Kerstyn Comley, Tellmi

    Tellmi is a social enterprise innovation which aims to address the growing demand for mental health services and tackle health inequalities for young people. It is a digital peer support app available launched in 2017 by psychologist Suzi Godson PhD and engineer Kerstyn Comley PhD. Kersytn explains how Tellmi works. Tell us about the innovation. [...]

  • How embracing Artificial Intelligence improves the human experience

    The NHS is facing record demand for services. According to The Health Foundation, the NHS waiting list for elective treatment in England has almost tripled in size over the last decade to 7.7 million. And latest figures show there were a record 2.35 million attendances at A&E across England in March this year. We know [...]

  • Ten principles of health equity for innovators

    “Health equity is the attainment of the highest level of health for ALL people. Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and social determinants of health — and to eliminate disparities in health and health care.” ( Within the NHS there [...]