NPSA Advice


Reducing and, where possible, eliminating errors is central to improving patient safety. Often these errors will result in little or no harm but can be distressing for patients and staff, although some result in serious, lasting harm, such as chronic pain, undiagnosed cancers, blindness and even death.

Below are a selection of guidance notes from the former NPSA programme of work on safer patient ID – matching patients correctly with samples, specimens, records and treatment.

Identification of neonates

Flowcharts showing the steps to take to help ensure correct and safe identification of babies and mothers at antenatal and post-natal stages.

Right patient – right care

This summarises research on manual checking and the use of technologies for patient identification.

Correct site/side surgery

Patient Safety Alert on ways to minimise the risk of surgery on the wrong part of the body.

Wristbands for hospital inpatients improves patient safety

Safer Practice Notice on ensuring acute hospital inpatients wear wristbands.

Right patient – right blood

Safer Practice Notice recommending both high and low-tech solutions to making blood sampling and transfusions safer.

Standardising wristbands improves patient safety

Safer Practice Notice recommending standardisation of wristband design, patient identifiers, colour coding, printing and processes for producing, applying and checking wristbands.