Learn about Sign Up to Safety

What is Sign up to Safety?

Sign up to Safety is national campaign in England to help the people working in health and social care organisations in England to work safely.

The campaign launched in June 2014 as part of the Department of Health’s ambition to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world, and now has over 500 member organisations.

Sign up to Safety’s objective is to help each of us bring to life the kinder attitudes, values and behaviours that are necessary for a safety culture to grow and flourish.

By joining Sign up to Safety, our members commit to these shared values and behaviours and to the five Sign up to Safety pledges.

Sign up to Safety supports its members by providing practical tools and resources to harness the power of conversations and help people talk each other in order to create a more open, kinder and just culture of safety.

What are the five Sign up to Safety pledges?
  1. Putting safety first. Commit to helping people work safely.
  2.  Continually learning. Listen and act on what we are hearing in our conversations with our staff, patients and families.
  3.  Being honest. Create an environment where staff, patients, families can have open and honest conversations about what went wrong and what went well, free from judgement and be treated with kindness.
  4.  Collaborating. Create opportunities for conversations where all staff, regardless of their role or position and across geographical and professional boundaries, can share what they know about working safely to help others learn.
  5. Being supportive. Really listen to each other with kindness when support is needed and act on what has been said. Create opportunities to celebrate success, say thank you and spread joy.
Who can become a member?

Sign up to Safety is for everyone, everywhere, in any health or social care setting.

How do I become a member?

To join Sign up to Safety is easy. All you need to do is tell us the actions you or your organsation will undertake to support our shared cause and the five Sign up to Safety pledges. You can find our more about joining here

What does a member of Sign up to Safety have to do?

Because every organisation is different and Sign up to Safety is YOUR campaign, we don’t tell people what to do.

By committing to support the five Sign up to Safety pledges and our shared values and behaviours to help a safety culture grow and flourish, you should think of a plan how to bring that to life.

The campaign provides practical resources and tools to help you do this, and to help your staff to understand why it’s important.

How has Sign up to Safety changed since it launched in 2014?

Sign up to Safety has evolved since its launch in 2014 and over time has narrowed our mission to focus on safety culture and how we can support the values and behaviours needed. You can watch a short animated video which talks about our story so far since 2014 here

How is Sign up to Safety different from previous safety campaigns?

Sign up to Safety is unique and fundamentally different from other safety campaigns because it is:

  • helping build bottom up, locally owned culture change
  • building trust and local ownership with no mandatory interventions, targets or ‘performance management’ by the team
  • helping provide the opportunity to create energy, ideas for working safely
  • shifting the current approach to safety to rethink how we do things – learning from the latest thinking in patient safety such as ‘safety II’
  • encouraging people to move beyond just a focus on single areas of harm and shift efforts to also addressing the contributory factors that impact on safety every day; communication, the availability and the design of equipment, stress, attitudes and relationships
  • applicable to everyone in the NHS from secondary to primary, acute to community, hospital to GP practice, board to ward
Where does Sign up to Safety fit in with other national programmes and initiatives?

There is a national programme for improving patient safety in England which includes:

  • National leadership through the national patient safety director and team at NHS Improvement
  • Learning from incidents and improved incident investigation via the National Reporting and Learning System and the independent Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch
  • Creating a culture of safety via Sign up to Safety
  • Collaboration through the fifteen patient safety collaboratives sited in each Academic Health Science Network
  • Building individual capability and a network of quality improvers via the Q initiative – a partnership with The Health Foundation
  • Buddying through the five organisations supported by staff from the Virginia Mason Institute (US)
  • Patient safety and education via Health Education England and the Patient Safety Commission including leadership and human factors
  • Patient safety standards and regulation via the professional and organisational regulators and inspections
  • Improving how we learn from clinical negligence and reducing the need for litigation via NHS Resolution
Is our healthcare not already safe?

Healthcare is a high risk industry, yet over a million patients are cared for in the NHS each day safely. However, things can and do go wrong, there can be errors, mistakes and wrongful actions.  This is a worldwide issue with research showing that on average one in ten patients could be subjected to avoidable harm.

Things go wrong because healthcare is complex and complicated.  It is also delivered by humans who are fallible – just like you and I.

Under the remit of Sign up to Safety organisations are tackling the causes of errors in care that can come from the way the system is designed.  A critical step is to create an environment and a culture where we help people feel able to talk about working safely so that we can learn from the times we get it right in order to replicate that and the times we get it wrong so that we can minimise that.

Who funds and who runs Sign up to Safety?

Sign up to Safety is funded by and reports to the Department of Health. The team of four are Suzette Woodward, Dane Wiig, Cat Harrison and Adam Mohamed