New Patient Safety programme launching for busy healthcare professionals


Our Centre for Health Policy and PSTRC to launch new Masters programme.

In October 2016, the first cohort of students will begin their journey on the new Masters Programme in Patient Safety co-designed and co-delivered by the NIHR Imperial Patient Safety and Translational Research Centre (PSTRC) and the Institute of Global Health Innovation’s (IGHI) Centre for Health Policy. 

Patient safety, an essential pillar of healthcare quality, has become a topic of increasing focus at all levels of the health system, domestically and internationally. In the UK, the focus on patient safety has never been stronger. In the past five years, a number of important milestones – the NHS Constitution[1]; the Five Year Forward View[2]; recent high-profile expert reviews from Sir Bruce Keogh[3], Sir Robert Francis[4], and Dr Don Berwick[5]; the establishment of a new arms length body, NHS Improvement, which consolidates the mandate to improve safety across NHS England into one organisation; and the introduction of a statutory duty of candor – have catapulted the patient safety agenda to the forefront of UK healthcare. 

Internationally, recent figures by US institutes have shed light on the global burden of medical error caused by unsafe care, most of which are in low- and middle income countries.[6] 

So it seems, health systems around the globe are grappling with the same question: how to deliver safer care, alongside care that is also effective, efficient, personalised, timely and equitable?[7] 

In this window of opportunity, a new generation of leaders – clinicians, policymakers, managers and patients – are now needed to take forth what we know to be effective and to untangle the complex root-causes of safety incidents. 

To assume this task, the next generation of leaders will need a portfolio of skills unique to safety and quality, but also unique to the future healthcare landscape – one that is increasingly characterised by fiscal constraints, increasingly complex patients, and increasingly complex models of care. 

The new Masters Programme in Patient Safety has been designed to equip students with the tools they will need to make real changes to patients’ safety and the health system as a whole – to produce and implement rigorous, innovative, evidence-based ideas, policies and interventions.   

Is this programme for you?

This programme has been designed specifically to suit professionals working in or allied to the healthcare system. The programme has been developed for part-time delivery, allowing professionals to attend without having to take time out of their careers. A block-teaching format, featuring four blocks of two-week face-to-face teaching paced throughout the two-year programme, helps students and their employers plan for the time commitment necessary to undergo a rigorous academic programme.

Students are able to complete their research projects in their own place of work, guided by Imperial College London faculty and allowing them to embed the knowledge and skills gained from their studies in the local health economy.

Furthermore, the programme has been designed so that it’s attractive to a diverse range of students – policy makers, managers, clinicians and other allied healthcare staff. In addition to acquiring the knowledge and required skills, students will emerge from the programme with a new network to drive change, and a deeper and wider understanding of safety.

What’s included in the programme?

The course is taught by established experts in the field of patient safety to expose students to the frontier of research and thinking, across a spectrum of relevant topics.

The course consists of eight taught modules, two self-taught modules and a research project. 

Each taught module has one week of face-to-face teaching, with background reading made available via iTunes University.

Self-taught modules are meant to complement the core curriculum. Students are recommended to learn the material, which is available via iTunes University, on one’s own time or with other fellow students. 

The successful completion of an independent research project is required for the MSc designation. 

Read the programme prospectus here for further information on course structure etc. 

What can I get out of the programme?

The programme is structured to award three designations: Post Graduate Certificate, Post-Graduate Diploma and MSc. 

The programme will provide students with exposure to world-class lecturers, consisting of those with experience of policy and organisational improvement programmes in patient safety in the UK and aboard.

Students will gain understanding and develop a wide range of improvement and research techniques that can be used in the field of patient safety. In particular, the research project will equip students with the skills needed to critically appraise current research and evaluate methodologies. 

Lastly, students will emerge from the programme with a network of high-profile and like-minded professionals in the field.

What are the entry requirements?

  • Normally, a 2:1 UK bachelor’s honours degree in a healthcare-related subject, or management/policy-related subject and/or a medical degree or equivalent;
  • 3 years relevant work experience in a healthcare, policy, or safety environment.


  • Find out more about the course by joining us for an open evening on Wednesday 4th May at St Marys Hospital in Paddington.  Sign up here
  • Read the course handbook here.
  • Visit the course web page here.
  • Find out about current scholarships we offer here.
  • Any queries, please contact Carly Line,

[1] The Department of Health. March 2013. The NHS Constitution: the NHS belongs to us all. 

[2] NHS England. Five Year Forward View [Internet]. London; 2014 October.

[3] Keogh B. Review into the quality of care the treatment provided by 14 hospital trusts in England: overview report. London, UK; 2013 July.

[4] Francis R. Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry. London: The Stationary Office; 2013.

[5] Berwick D. Berwick review into patient safety. London: Department of Health; 2013.

[6] Jhan, A.K et al. 2013. The Global burden of unsafe medical care: analytic modeling of observational studies. BMJ Quality and Safety 22(10): 809-815.

[7] Institute of Medicine (IOM). 2001. Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century. Washington, D.C: National Academy Press


Jo Seed

Jo Seed
Institute of Global Health Innovation

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