More Information?



Aims of the Programme
The aims of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme (SPSP) is to steadily improve the safety and reliability of hospital care across the country. This is being achieved by using evidence-based tools and techniques to improve the reliability and safety of everyday health care systems and processes. This technical aspect will be guided and supported by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and coordinated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland, who directly promotes patient safety within NHSScotland. One of Healthcare Improvement Scotlands' key priorities is the support of clinical governance, which is a system of checks and balances that ensures clinical services are of the highest possible quality.


Front-line staff within each participating NHS Health Board play a key role in testing and implementing the interventions in each of the five workstreams: General Ward, Critical Care, Perioperative Care, Medicines Management, and Leadership.

Programme Objectives

The key objectives of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme are to: 
  • Reduce healthcare-associated infection
  • Reduce adverse surgical incidents
  • Reduce adverse drug events
  • Improve critical care outcomes
  • Improve the organisational and leadership culture on safety
These key aims are intended to be used to facilitate and drive improvement, rather than as a basis for measurement for accountability. An important part of the strategic approach is that these key aims are owned by those participating in the Scottish Patient Safety Programme and that the work done by front-line teams remains focused on improvements over time against their own baselines.
The Scottish Patient Safety Programme provides the support, the methodology for improvement, and analysis and reporting of the data generated as a result of the small tests of change instituted by each front-line clinical team. Good quality data is fundamental to the credibility and sustainability of the programme.
In addition to the work being undertaken by Healthcare Improvement Scotland and IHI, further work is underway with the Information Services Division (ISD) to ensure a robust and sustainable measurement system is in place that will give consistent results across Scotland.
Following the success of the Acute Care Scottish Patient Safety Programme, further nationwide improvement collaboratives have begun in the following workstreams:
  • Maternity Care Quality Improvement Collaborative, incorporating: Maternity Care, Paediatric Care, Neonatal Care
  • Mental Health
  • Primary Care
  • Sepsis / VTE