Harnessing a human factors approach to improve patient safety award

The purpose of the NHS is to deliver high quality, safe and clinically effective care to all. However, being a high-risk industry, decision making can often be compromised when staff are required to react quickly under pressure and in unpredictable circumstances, which can often impact quality of care, patient outcomes and potentially cause harm.

We need to ensure that staff are equipped with an understanding of the effects of teamwork, tasks, equipment, workspace, culture and organisation on human behaviour and can apply that knowledge in clinical settings, in order to consistently deliver high quality care. Integrating a Human Factors approach is a way to achieve this; it underpins current patient safety and quality improvement science, offering an integrated, evidenced and coherent approach to patient safety, quality improvement and clinical excellence. Human Factors is a scientific discipline used in many other safety critical industries and by embedding ergonomics into everyday practice, the NHS can minimise or mitigate human frailties, thus reducing error and preventable harm.

This award will recognise teams or organisations that have introduced Human Factors training initiatives or embedded an ergonomics approach to everyday practice, with demonstrable results showing a reduction of human error and higher quality of care.


Entries are welcome from across the NHS, independent healthcare providers and public sector health and social care system.


  • Identify the need for improvement in care and what steps were taken to put this initiative in place.
  • Describe the project or initiative, including an outline of the goals set, what checks, and balances were in place, and how success could be measured.
  • Explain how the initiative was informed by existing best practice or evidence surrounding the value of human factors approaches in healthcare.


  • Evidence that patient safety has improved as a direct result of the initiative
  • This must include a quantitative aspect and can cover any aspect of human factors but can also include qualitative measures such as patient or staff feedback
  • Evidence the patient safety work has directly contributed to the delivery of consistently high-quality care
  • What other benefits have been realised as a result of the project?


  • How have your team worked within your organisation to disseminate the success of this initiative? Are the achievements being replicated or scaled within other departments, specialisms or organisations?
  • Alternatively, provide clear evidence that the work is potentially replicable and scalable.


  • Demonstrate how the initiative has enhanced quality, the patient experience or ability of staff to manage care more effectively.
  • Outline to what extent the initiative has helped deliver financial value as well as value to the patient.
  • Provide testimonials from patients and stakeholders to help support the entry.


  • Show how patients are involved in decisions around their care, and how their views were embedded in the design of the initiative.
  • Evidence how a multidisciplinary approach was taken, with all relevant parties fully engaging in the work. This should include managers, medics and nurses as well as patients and families.
  • Provide detailed evidence which supports a culture in which all members of staff can raise concerns and make suggestions for improvements.

To find out more

Partnership opportunities:  Natasha Dwyer, Head of Sponsorship Sales
Awards entry enquiries: Frank Willing, Delegate Sales Manager