Patient safety expertise could be moved from the centre to the NHS locally as part of an internal review of the National Patient Safety Agency's future, HSJunderstands.

Patient safety expertise could be moved from the centre to the NHS locally as part of an internal review of the National Patient Safety Agency's future, HSJunderstands.

The NPSA will ask managers on the ground how they want it to help them embed patient-safety techniques, and how best the agency's skills can be spread throughout the NHS.

Different parts of the service are likely to want different types of help, but within the next two or three years, the NPSA is expected to slim down to offer core services that can only be provided nationally.

The agency already has managers working out in the service, and that number could increase as the review process bites.

But the final decision will be made by the Department of Health, which is carrying out a review of patient safety.

Since the NPSA was formed five years ago, it concentrated on introducing a central infrastructure of patient safety, including its national reporting scheme for mistakes and near misses.

But now the agency has been criticised by the Commons public accounts committee report that questioned its value for money and criticised its lack of progress on implementing the Department of Health's blueprint for patient safety, Building a Safer NHS for Patients.

The committee said the NPSA was 'very late' in delivering the national reporting and learning system, which was launched in 2004, and it criticised the agency for providing 'only limited feedback' to NHS trusts on ways to reduce serious incidents.

The NPSA has also failed to evaluate and circulate patient safety solutions that have been developed at trust level, it said.

Among 12 recommendations in the hard-hitting report, the committee called on the NPSA to bring trusts with high and low levels of incident reporting together to improve the reporting system, and it said the agency must gather more precise information on the extent and causes of death and serious harm resulting from serious incidents.

The report also recommends that all NHS trusts should inform patients if they have been involved in a reported incident, and that the Department of Health should consider whether and how to publish data on trusts' safety records as part of the NHS choice agenda.

Commenting on the report's findings, NPSA joint chief executive Susan Williams said the agency accepted that more needed to be done to improve safety within the NHS.

'The NPSA has already acted on a number of issues identified in the report and will work with the DoH to consider the report's recommendations carefully,' she said.