Date Published: 1 February 2006

Embedding patient safety in the NHS (UK)

A new tool to help NHS organisations assess their progress in developing a safety culture was launched today by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) and a team from the School of Psychological Sciences at Manchester University, England.

The Manchester Patient Safety Framework (MaPSaF) has been developed for use in primary care, acute, ambulance and mental health care settings. MaPSaF assists healthcare teams in measuring their progress towards making patient safety a central focus within their organisation. It can help them identify areas of particular strength or weakness. This will help to channel resources in the most appropriate fashion to best improve their patient safety culture.

MaPSaF uses 'dimensions' of patient safety and for each of these describes what an organisation would look like at five levels of patient safety. These dimensions relate to areas where attitudes, values and behaviours about patient safety are likely to be reflected in the organisation's working practices, for example, how patient safety incidents are investigated, staff education and training about risk management.

" MaPSaF offers a novel approach to considering patient safety culture, raising awareness and allowing those working in the healthcare professions to reflect on the culture of their own organisation, and to identify potential improvements,"
said Dianne Parker, Professor of Applied Social Psychology,
The University of Manchester.

The tool was first developed for use in healthcare environments by Professor Dianne Parker, Dr Sue Kirk, Ms Tanya Claridge, Professor Aneez Esmail and Professor Martin Marshall in a collaborative project supported by the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester, specifically for use in primary care. The NPSA has since worked with Professor Dianne Parker, Tanya Claridge and Matthew Lawrie from the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester to help pilot and take forward the work for use in mental health, acute and ambulance healthcare settings.

Jane Carthey, a Safety Improvement Specialist, who has led the adaptation of the tool at the NPSA said,

" MaPSaF provides NHS staff with a framework to discuss their perceptions of how mature their patient safety culture is. Our experience has shown that it provides an excellent framework for discussion and allows front-line healthcare staff to better understand the theory of a 'patient safety culture. MaPSaF makes the concept of 'patient safety culture' accessible and meaningful to all."

Note: MaPSaF has been designed as a self-reflective framework and not as a tool for performance management.

Source: National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), UK -

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