Patient Safety Commissioner for England – an update

The role and powers of the Patient Safety Commissioner are now in law, contained in the Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021.  The government agreed to include this in the Act following pressure from Baroness Cumberlege, Co-Chair of the First Do No Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group, and a range of other parliamentarians of all parties.

Further legislation is now required to set out all the details of how the Patient Safety Commissioner will operate – staffing arrangements, budgets, office accommodation and the appointment process for the Commissioner herself or himself. This is known as secondary legislation, and it takes the form of regulations or statutory instruments.  This type of legislation is prepared by the government and is subject to approval by both the House of Commons and House of Lords before it can become law. 

The Department of Health & Social Care expects soon (likely in May 2021) to launch a public consultation on the matters that will be contained in the secondary legislation.  After the consultation has concluded, and comments received have been considered, the process to appoint the Commissioner will begin.  We do not yet know when the appointment will be made, but we hope it will be before the end of 2021.

The Department of Health & Social Care is keen to encourage anyone with an interest to respond to the consultation.  We will post details of how to do so as soon as they are available, and we will provide further updates of progress towards appointing the Commissioner here on our website.