‘I love the NHS, but…’ Preventing needless harms caused by poor communications in the NHS. 2023. https// (accessed 2 January 2024)

Care Quality Commission. Opening the door to change: NHS safety culture and the need for transformation. 2018. https// (accessed 2 January 2024)

First do no harm: The report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, chaired by Baroness Cumberlege. 2020. https// (accessed 2 January 2024)

NHS England/NHS Improvement. The NHS patient safety strategy: Safer culture, safer systems, safer patients. 2019. https// (accessed 2 January 2024)

NHS England. Good communication with patients waiting for care. 2023a. https//

NHS England. Good communication with patients waiting for care: core principles. 2023b. https// (accessed 2 January 2024)

Back to patient safety basics: improving communication with patients

11 January 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 1


John Tingle, Lecturer in Law, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, discusses the persistent problem of poor communication in health care, highlighted in recent reports

In analysing complex problems and situations, often a simple solution can turn out to be the best one. It is possible to overcomplicate our approach and to neglect the obvious. It is increasingly difficult for NHS staff to keep up to date with the amount of patient safety information produced and to distil, analyse and if appropriate incorporate into policies and practice at the workface.

All this adds up to what can be regarded as a perfect storm of patient safety information overload for NHS staff and others, presenting the question: how can we effectively navigate through all this information and select what is relevant to us? Not surprisingly, there are no easy answers, which has been flagged before:

‘Trusts receive too many safety-related messages from too many different sources. The trusts we spoke to said there needed to be better communication and coordination between national bodies, and greater clarity around the roles of the various organisations that send these messages.’

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Nursing and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • Unlimited access to the latest news, blogs and video content