Consultation outcome

Providing a 'safe space' in healthcare safety investigations

This consultation has concluded

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Detail of outcome

The main conclusion of the review was that the ‘safe space’ proposal would be of most use for the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB), which became fully operational from 1 April.

The government intends that HSIB will conduct its investigations using ‘safe space’ principles, but will consult further on any extension of the ‘safe space’ principle to local investigations by NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts.

Original consultation


Seeks views on creating a balanced 'safe space' to allow NHS staff to speak up about incidents without the fear of being punished.

This consultation ran from

Consultation description

The proposal outlined in this consultation will legally ensure that information that staff provide as part of a health service investigation will be kept confidential except where there is an immediate risk to patient safety, or where the High Court makes an order permitting disclosure. This broadly mirrors the procedures followed in air accidents investigations.

The aim to create a balanced safe space and to make sure the proposal reassures staff that the information they provide will not be passed on; and also reassures patients and families that they will be given the full facts of their, or their loved ones’, care.


Published 17 October 2016
Last updated 21 April 2017 + show all updates
  1. Added government response.
  2. First published.