Trust boards that focus on reducing “near misses”, rather than just individual serious adverse events, could make massive savings, according to an independent advisory group.

The Good Governance Institute report - What Every Healthcare Board Needs to Understand About Patient Safety - says focusing on revealing patterns of less serious adverse events could aid trusts in understanding what is going wrong and help cut the annual £30bn patient safety bill.

Institute director and report co-author Andrew Corbett-Nolan said: “The time trust boards spend on patient safety is disproportionally weighted towards serious untoward incidents. But [these incidents] are a relatively small number and it is very difficult to extrapolate more general lessons.

The report outlines a series of recommendations for trust boards to improve patient safety, including awareness training for all board directors.

Mr Corbett-Nolan said: “Directors have a duty to understand the business they’re in and it is ludicrous not to have directors aware of patient safety issues.”

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