HSIB is going through organisational transition to become the Health Services Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB). At the same time our maternity investigations programme will be formed into a separate special health authority (SpHA).
We expect both organisations to be operational in April 2023.
In April 2023 HSIB will officially become the Health Services Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB).
This journey began when HSIB was first set up in 2017. Since then, we have been hosted by NHS England and NHS Improvement (whilst funded by the Department of Health and Social Care).
Now that the Health and Care Act 2022 has received Royal Assent it means we will become a fully independent non-departmental public body, commonly known as an arm’s length body (ALB), of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
HSSIB will have increased powers that we do not currently have as HSIB. These powers are set out in the Health and Care Act 2022.
Our independence is seen as vital to give full confidence that our investigations are impartial, no blame, and solely to learn. This is so we can support patient safety improvement across the whole healthcare system in England.
Latest HSSIB transition updates
Our transition began on 1 April 2022. Until we become fully operational, we remain as a shadow ALB working under the current HSIB Directions 2016.
Recruitment to the following roles, with the recruitment process managed outside of HSIB, is underway:
- Interim Chief Investigator
- Chair of HSSIB
Differences between HSIB and HSSIB
The main differences between HSIB and HSSIB are that:
- HSSIB will have a board of executive and non-executive directors whose role is to establish and take forward the strategic aims and objectives of the new organisation. They are accountable for governance and the assurance of operations and performance.
- HSSIB will have enhanced powers that require people and organisations to cooperate with patient safety investigations.
- HSSIB will be able to protect the information provided during investigations from disclosure. This means that for other bodies to access it, they will need to get permission from the High Court.
- Maternity investigations will move to a new special health authority.
New powers for HSSIB
HSSIB’s new powers will allow our patient safety investigations to:
- start more quickly without first obtaining consent to access medical records
- require individuals and organisations to participate
- obtain any evidence considered relevant for an investigation
- provide ‘safe space’ protections for evidence gathered during HSSIB investigations, formally described as ‘prohibition on disclosure’ in the Health and Care Act 2022
Maternity special health authority
The Health and Care Act does not provide for maternity investigations to continue under HSSIB.
Our maternity investigations programme will become a separate special health authority (SpHA) and will ensure our excellent programme continues. This SpHA will be set up as part of our transition.
Latest maternity special health authority transition updates
Plans to set up a special health authority to continue the HSIB maternity investigation programme were announced in Parliament in January 2022 by Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.