The National Patient Safety Agency has advised trusts to report patient safety incidents more regularly to avoid coming under scrutiny from the Care Quality Commission.

From 1 April, it becomes mandatory for trusts to report all serious patient safety incidents to the CQC as part of its registration process. All incidents resulting in severe patient harm or death in NHS organisations must be reported to the NPSA “without delay” which will then report it to the CQC.

If the problem is local workload, turnover of staff or different processes then we will start escalating [our enquiries]

The CQC will announce next week how often it will collect the data from the NPSA, but it is expected to be weekly.

NPSA director of patient safety Suzette Woodward told HSJ that reporting all patient safety incidents, regardless of seriousness, every month would help trusts comply with the regulator’s requirements.

She said: “The CQC mandatory reporting isn’t just about learning from severe harm and death, it is about helping trusts get their reporting systems more regular.”

Latest figures from the NPSA reveal that many trusts in England and Wales are not submitting regular patient safety reports to the agency.

Between April and September 2009, only 53 per cent of trusts submitted patient safety reports every month, with one in 10 submitting reports just once or twice during the six month period.

Ms Woodward said there is a “wide range” in the level of reporting from trusts, and that some organisations “need to look at their processes and risk management systems and get into a much more rhythmical reporting fashion”.

“Low or infrequent reporters are our priority,” she said. “We are working very closely with [these trusts] to figure out why this happening. If it is a technical issue we want to iron that out. But if it is local workload, turnover of staff or different processes then we will start escalating [our enquiries].”