Skip to main content

Patient Safety

Volume 696: debated on Thursday 10 June 2021

I would like to inform the House of the launch of a public consultation on proposed legislative provisions governing the appointment and operation of the patient safety commissioner for England.

As my colleagues will be aware, on 14 December 2020, the Government tabled an amendment to the Medicine and Medical Devices Bill to establish an independent patient safety commissioner for England. The Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021 (MMD Act) achieved Royal Assent on 11 February 2021 and on 11 April established the commissioner position and its main duties and powers.

The introduction of a patient safety commissioner also acts on the second recommendation of the independent medicines and medical devices safety review, “First Do No Harm”, published in July 2020 by Baroness Cumberlege.

The patient safety commissioner will add to and enhance the existing work that has been done to improve patient safety by acting as a champion for patients. Listening to our patients is integral to our healthcare system and the commissioner will help to make sure patient voices are heard.

The core duties of the commissioner are to promote the safety of patients in the context of the use of medicines and medical devices and to promote the importance of the views of patients and other members of the public in relation to the safety of medicines and medical devices.

Under the MMD Act 2021, (paragraph 6 of schedule 1) the Secretary of State is able to make legislative provisions about the appointment and operation of the commissioner, for example, the terms of office, finances and other support for the commissioner. As is required by the MMD Act, the Department has launched a public consultation to gather views from interested persons on the detail on the appointment and operation of the commissioner. Consultation responses will be carefully considered and will feed into the required secondary legislation.

This consultation will help to ensure that the provisions governing the appointment and operation of the patient safety commissioner are as comprehensive as needed, so that the commissioner will be able to work for, with and in the best interests of patients.

I would like to take this opportunity to reassure the House that the Government continue to prioritise work on this initiative. The launch of this consultation represents good progress in setting up of the commissioner.

The consultation can be accessed using the following link: