Update on trust compliance with NHSLA risk management standards

The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) has published its annual report and accounts for 2008/09. Amongst other things, the report provides a helpful update on trust compliance with the NHSLA’s risk management standards.

There are separate risk management standards incorporating organisational, clinical and health and safety risks for NHS acute, mental health & learning disability, ambulance and primary care trusts and independent sector providers of NHS care. Each set of standards contains five individual standard areas: Governance; Competent & Capable Workforce; Safe Environment; Clinical Care; Learning from Experience. Within each standard, there are ten equally weighted criteria or risk areas. Each risk area is addressed through an ongoing programme of assessment at three distinct, progressive levels:

• Level 1 – documentation (policy)
• Level 2 – implementation (practice)
• Level 3 – monitoring and improvement (performance).

To achieve compliance, organisations must pass at least 40 out of the 50 criteria with no fewer than seven passes in any standard. NHS trusts receive increasing discounts, ranging from 10% – 30%, on their contributions to our risk pooling schemes as they progress from Level 1 to Level 3. The results of assessments are published on the NHSLA website in Factsheet 4 on a monthly basis, as well as copies of assessment reports.

A range of tools are available including handbooks containing guidance and reference sources in the support of the standards, an electronic evidence template to enable organisations to conduct a self-assessment and to accompany evidence submitted for assessment, and template documents to assist organisations in drafting local policies to manage risks.

The new Risk Management Standards for Acute Trusts were introduced in April 2007. All NHS acute trusts (other than one new organisation) have now been assessed against the standards and by the end of March 2009, 52% had achieved the higher levels. The results of all assessments are shown in the chart below.

NHSLA Levels 2009

Download the NHS Litigation Authority’s 2008/09 Annual Report and Accounts here.

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