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National Patient Safety Agency

Volume 457: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much salary the joint chief executives of the National Patient Safety Agency have received since they stopped work; how much salary has been paid in that period to the acting chief executive; and what the cost is of the retirement packages for the joint chief executives. (121429)

The joint chief executives have each received a salary of £53,481 from 7 July 2006 to the end January 2007. They will receive a further £7,912 each per month for February and March 2007. They retire on 31 March 2007. The cost of the early retirement has yet to be finalised.

In the interim period and up to the end of January 2007 the acting chief executive has received a salary of £78,419.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans she has for the National Patient Safety Agency; and if she will make a statement; (121430)

(2) what steps have been taken to address the concerns set out in the Public Accounts Committee report on the National Patient Safety Agency in 2006.

Following the publication of the National Audit Office report “A safer place for patients: learning to improve patient” safety in November 2005, the Chief Medical Officer commissioned a review of the organisational arrangements in place to support patient safety. It was explicitly aimed at addressing the issues raised in the NAO report and its concerns with the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), as well as looking at the national health service's approach to patient safety more widely.

The resulting report “Safety first: A report for patients, clinicians and healthcare managers” was published in December 2006 and is available in the Library. It makes fourteen recommendations including the following about the NPSA's core function:

“The role of the NPSA should be refocused on its core objective of collecting and analysing patient safety data to inform rapid patient safety learning, priority setting and coordinated activity across the NHS. A number of current functions, for example the development of technical solutions to improve patient safety, presently delivered by the organisation should in future be commissioned from other expert organisations with the requisite expertise”

The Department is working closely with the agency in taking forward this and other recommendations in which the agency has an interest.

The agency will continue to have responsibility for the additional functions that it took on following the review of arm’s length bodies in 2005. These include work on safety aspects of hospital design, cleanliness and food; the Central Office for Research Ethics Committees the National Clinical Assessment Service and managing the contracts of the three national confidential enquiries.