Our role

Our guidelines make evidence based, best practice recommendations. Implementing these helps to improve patient safety and reduce the risk of harm across the health system.

Our Interventional Procedures Programme has a focus on patient safety and considers if procedures are both safe and work well enough for use. The programme gives advice on how to safely introduce new procedures into practice.

NICE’s Patient Safety Oversight Group (PSOG) provides oversight of and, where required, coordination to patient safety related matters within NICE.

Current priorities

To strengthen our contribution to patient safety, we will:

  • Continue to work with regulators and professional organisations to reinforce the use of our guidance.
  • Build and develop new relationships with key partners in the health and care system (such as the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, Care Quality Commission, Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch) to support the timely exchange of information important to promoting patient safety.
  • Communicate to promote better understanding of NICE’s role as a system partner in patient safety.

In addition, we are:

Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety (IMMDS) Review

The IMMDS review was published in July 2020. It examined the English healthcare system's response to reports of harm caused by specific medicines and procedures. These were:

  • Primados, a hormonal pregnancy test
  • sodium valproate in pregnancy
  • surgical mesh for pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.

The review also made some general recommendations on improving patient safety. It reinforced the importance of monitoring implementation of guidance. Following our guidance on surgical mesh for pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence more closely could have avoided much of the harm to patients.

NICE’s response to the review

We have responded to the recommendations of the IMMDS review and undertaken the following actions:

  • Established a patient safety oversight group to oversee our response to the specific recommendations of the IMMDS review whilst coordinating and giving clinical leadership to our patient safety activity more widely.
  • Set up a monitoring and response system to review safety issues reported to us.
  • Developed a patient safety policy to summarise our approach and make sure procedures are understood across the organisation.
  • Ensured we’re represented on key national groups that give leadership to patient safety, including the National Patient Safety Committee
  • Completed an exceptional review of our guidance on urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
  • Published two Patient Decision Aids (PDAs) for use at specialist regional centres to provide treatment for women affected by complications from pelvic mesh.
  • Continuing work with NHS England and Improvement, NHS Digital and other organisations to create clinical outcome databases and registries. This data will help to monitor the safety and efficacy of interventions.

What’s new?

We are working with the General Medical Council to support improved awareness and use of our guidance through medical training. NICE has collaborated to produce clinical scenarios for use to help doctors demonstrate best practice during their professional revalidation.

You can read the latest scenario here on: Drug monitoring in secondary care.

Contact us

You can contact the patient safety team at NICE at: patientsafety@nice.org.uk.

How NICE is improving patient safety

A photo of Professor Kevin Harris

Read the blog post from Professor Kevin Harris, NICE's senior responsible officer for patient safety.