Controls Assurance in the NHS

In the world of occupational safety and health, it is unfortunate that
health is often perceived as the poor relation of safety. With the introduction
of Controls Assurance, however, the NHS now has in place a system to manage all
aspects of safety and health and to comply with corporate governance
requirements. Controls Assurance is a key element of the Government’s
modernisation programme for the NHS.

Developed as a response to the Turnbull report, it is designed to provide
evidence that NHS organisations are doing their reasonable best to meet their
objectives and to protect patients, staff, visitors and other stakeholders
against risks. It requires NHS directors to review the effectiveness of their
systems of internal control and to state they have done so in the trust’s
annual report.

The Healthcare Specialist Group at Iosh recently organised two seminars
dedicated to Controls Assurance. Led by Stuart Emslie, head of the Controls
Assurance team at the NHS executive, these events outlined the project and
examined, through the risk management system and health and safety management
standards, the role of safety and risk professionals in the Controls Assurance

Is health and safety part of risk management? Should the risks associated
with the care of patients be managed separately from the risks that face staff
in the workplace? These are two recurring questions that were asked during the

A recent survey of 420 NHS organisations, showed 48 per cent of them have
either a fully integrated approach to the management of patient care-related
risks and non-patient care-related risks, including health and safety, or are
actively working on such an approach. The Controls Assurance agenda aims to
empower NHS staff to manage risk in their workplace and it is part of the NHS’s
broader agenda for the 21st century.

This is essential as there are significant issues facing the NHS and
Controls Assurance over the next few years, including the Human Rights Act,
infection control, patient food, the Disability Discrimination Act, the
management of patient information, emergency planning and transport.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health represents 25,000
safety and health professionals in industry, commerce and the public sector.
Tel: 0116-257 3100;

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