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Submit a Patient Safety Incident Report

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This page provides information about incident reporting for staff in primary care. (If you want to submit a quality alert instead, visit the Submit a Quality Alert page)

As part of the Care Quality Commission registration, every GP practice should have an incident policy/procedure in place to investigate all incidents, including non-clinical incidents, near-misses and serious incidents, which take place at the practice.

Practice staff should use the Learn from Patient Safety Events (LFPSE) system to report all patient safety incidents and near-misses, whether they result in harm or not, as soon as they are identified and prior to the investigation commencing.

As part of the clinical governance provisions in the Terms of Service, contractors have to report patient safety incidents to the NHS. 

The preferred way to make these reports is via the Learn from Patient Safety Events (LFPSE) service website, although some pharmacies instead report incidents via their head office/superintendent pharmacist/trade body, who will then record these (e.g. in specialist software systems, often described as local risk management systems) and also report them to the LFPSE service.

To record safety events on the Learn from Patient Safety Events (LFPSE) system, in most cases primary care staff and organisations without a local risk management system (e.g. Datix) will input information directly via an online account (see the LFPSE sign-in page).

The service has been designed for use by staff anywhere where healthcare is delivered by organisations registered with an ODS code. This includes general practice, community pharmacy, community dentistry and community optometry.

These reports are used to spot any emerging patterns of similar incidents, as well as any areas of particular concern. This will help protect patients by raising awareness of the risks through shared learning with practices and other health providers across the country.

Reporting incidents to a national central system helps protect patients from avoidable harm by increasing opportunities for the NHS to learn when things go wrong. The NHS England Patient Safety Domain uses patient safety incident reports submitted to the LFPSE system to identify key themes and trends, and takes action at a national level to prevent similar incidents from occurring, often via Patient Safety Alerts.

By reporting a patient safety incident to the LFPSE system, staff can gain continuing professional development (CPD) credits. Event records can be printed or saved in PDF format as the user requires, and these can then be used for reflection and CPD. To do this, use the Print Summary button on the record summary page and then select your preferred option to save, print or share.

It is a requirement of Care Quality Commission (CQC) registration that GP practices report all events that indicate, or may indicate, risks to compliance with registration requirements or that may require changes to practice information on the CQC register.

See the CQC's fundamental standards page for more information.

The national Controlled Drugs Reporting portal is the place to: 

  • report an incident relating to controlled drugs
  • report a concern relating to controlled drugs
  • complete a controlled drug declaration
  • apply to be a temporary authorised witness to witness the destruction of controlled drugs
  • record controlled drugs that have been destroyed.

The Central Alerting System is an online cascading system for issuing patient safety alerts, important public health messages, and other safety-critical information and guidance to the NHS and others, including independent providers of health and social care.

Providers can register to receive these alerts through via the website.

Review date: Friday, 12 July 2024