For immediate release: Thursday, 02 August 2018


MDDUS today welcomed an influential call for the Government to reconsider allowing NHS trusts and foundation trusts to conduct internal “safe space” investigations.


A Government committee today published its findings on plans to establish the Health Service Safety Investigations Body and stated that while safe spaces where medical professionals can reflect on incidents were an essential part of investigations, allowing trusts and foundations to run their own were not a good idea. The Joint Committee on the Draft Health Service Safety Investigations Bill today said that internal safe space investigations were “misconceived”.


This was one of the main messages that MDDUS had made in its written submission to the HSSI Bill.


Joint Head of Medical Division John Holden said: “We are pleased to see that the Joint Committee has agreed with our submission that whilst the public may have confidence in trusts carrying out their own ’safe space’ investigations, such confidence is less likely to be shared by health professionals.


“For example, in the event of a patient’s death associated with defective equipment provided by a trust, MDDUS is concerned that an investigation overseen by a trust is more likely to focus on individual health practitioners - who are at risk of a very stressful investigation in relation to gross negligence manslaughter - whereas a corporate manslaughter investigation arising from the deficient actions of the Trust may be more appropriate.


“Equally, health professionals are unlikely to be reassured by the prospect of investigations being conducted by Trusts in situations where resourcing or workload or other systemic issues within the control of the Trust may be factors which have had a bearing on the patient safety issues under investigation.


“It is essential that the new body is seen to be completely independent of existing healthcare structures and organisations and we are pleased to see that being recognised by the Joint Committee.”


The committee’s report, which contains MDDUS’s full submission, can be found here:




For further information contact Stuart Wilson on 0333 0434444 or 07964 345 842, or email



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