Funded by​

The Safer Patients Network is funded by The Health Foundation.



It is estimated that over 850,000 incidents harm or nearly harm National Health Service (NHS) hospital patients in the UK each year. Furthermore, on average 40 incidents a year contribute to patient deaths in a single NHS organization. Incidents include medication errors, infections during treatment on intensive care units, and infections associated with surgery.


Sponsored by The Health Foundation, the Safer Patients Network launched in June 2009, continuing the important work begun in the Safer Patients Initiative (2004-2008) to find practical ways of making acute hospitals in the UK safer for patients. The Safer Patients Initiative demonstrated the health service’s potential to ensure patient safety and has influenced the national safety initiatives across the UK, spreading the approach across the UK health services.


The Safer Patients Network continues to build on the safety expertise gained in the Safer Patients Initiative (SPI), with 18 of the original 24 SPI sites joining as network members. Sites in the Safer Patients Network will test, develop, and export ways to make health care safer for patients and build improvement skills in their systems of care.


The aim of the network is to work together to develop the network as a self-sustaining, member-driven community of practice to catalyze improvements to patient safety.


The Safer Patients Network will:

  • Sustain and strengthen the impact of the Safer Patients Initiative;
  • Create opportunities to test and develop new approaches to patient safety (others within the network and the wider health system can then take these forward); and
  • Build capability in the service by establishing accredited sites, that will then offer coaching, mentoring, and support in improving patient safety to the wider health system.


The network will further the development of skills and knowledge to ensure safe and reliable care. It will also look to how the network can spread safety improvements across the national systems in the UK.


Visit The Health Foundation's Safer Patients Network website for more information on the initiative. 

About the Health Foundation



Based in London, England, The Health Foundation is an independent charity that aims to improve health and the quality of health care for the people of the United Kingdom. The Foundation selected the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) to design, promote and implement the Safer Patients Initiative, one of the Foundation’s quality and performance improvement programmes. IHI is continuing to support the Safer Patients Network.
Through its programs, activities, and investments, The Health Foundation seeks out and supports leaders in health; promotes innovation in the delivery of health services; enhances the capacity for new knowledge through research; and disseminates evidence for changing health policy and practice.

Visit The Health Foundation website for more information about their work.

About the Safer Patients Initiative 

In 2004, The Health Foundation, together with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) launched the Safer Patients Initiative to demonstrate that a wide number of improvement tests in patient safety could be carried out simultaneously and spread, and that organizational culture could be transformed.
The first phase (launched April 2004 with four sites) aimed to find practical ways of making acute hospitals safer for patients. Phase 2 (beginning in November 2006 with 20 additional sites) demonstrated the health service’s potential to ensure patient safety. 
Between 2004 and 2008, the Safer Patients Initiative:
  • Concentrated on five clinical areas (general ward care, surgical/perioperative care, critical care, medicines management, and leadership);
  • Provided training in quality and safety improvement; and
  • Ensured safety was a strategic priority by ensuring full involvement of the chief executives and senior executive teams.
Visit The Health Foundation's website for more about results and learning from the initiative.​