Kendir C, Fujisawa R, Brito Fernandes O, Bienassis K, Klazinga N. Patient Engagement for Patient Safety: The why, what, and how of patient engagement for improving patient safety. OECD Health Working Papers No. 159.

Reading the signals: Maternity and neonatal services in East Kent – the Report of the Independent Investigation. 2022. https// (accessed 16 January 2024)

NHS England. Engaging and involving patients, families and staff following a patient safety incident. Patient Safety Incident Response Framework supporting guidance. 2022. http// (accessed 16 January 2024)

Patient Safety Commissioner. Patient Safety Commissioner Annual Report 2022-23. 2023. http// (accessed 16 January 2024)

Patient Safety Learning. Reflections on PSIRF, patient engagement and why we investigate: a recent discussion at the Patient Safety Management Network. 2023. http// (accessed 16 January 2024)

World Health Organization. Engaging patients for patient safety: advocacy brief. 2023. http// (accessed 16 January 2024)

Patient engagement, patient empowerment and patient safety

25 January 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 2


John Tingle, Lecturer in Law, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, discusses several recent reports on the role of patients in patient safety policy

Involving patients in patient safety policy development and practice and in their care and treatment seems quite simple and straightforward on the face of it. However, in practice it has proved exceedingly difficult, judging from past attempts in the NHS, and patient safety crisis investigation reports. There are regular clarion calls made to involve patients more and they have continued for many years with mixed results. The Patient Safety Commissioner (PSC) recently stated:

‘I have discovered that we need a seismic shift in the way that patients' and families' voices are heard. This requires changes in legislation, regulation, policy, commissioning, education, professionalism, attitudes, behaviours, and culture.’

PSC, 2023: 9

We can see failings from past patient safety investigation reports of patients not being involved enough or at all in patient safety investigations, not being talked to properly, and lack of empathy or compassion shown towards them. Also not being involved enough in decisions about their own care, treatment, poor consent procedures and so on.

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