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Government seeks patient safety commissioner to ’set example of integrity and ethical leadership’

Published on: 11 Jan 2022

The government has launched recruitment for the first patient safety commissioner for England, revealing the successful candidate could work part-time.

According to the job advert published online this week the successful candidate could earn £105,000 on a full-time basis or £63,000 if they apply for the job on a three-day basis, which it described as a “minimum” number of days for the role.

The job advert also said the commissioner should: “Set an example of integrity and ethical leadership, reinforcing the position’s reputation as an open and independent role, which puts the needs and interests of the public, patients and service users first.”

The introduction of a patient safety commissioner was recommended by Baroness Julia Cumberlege in July 2020. Her ‘First do no harm’ safety review of independent medicines and medical devices examined care failures associated with Primodos, sodium valproate and pelvic mesh.

Baroness Cumberlege said the establishment of a commissioner would strengthen patient voice and influence.

The advert – which followed a consultation on how the role should be organised and funded – described the core role as needing to “promote the safety of patients in the context of the use of medicines and medical devices and promote the importance of the views of patients and other members of the public”.

It said the successful candidate must challenge the healthcare system and hold it to account, communicate the role of the commissioner to the public and provide direction in establishing the commissioner role through preparing a set of principles following public consultation.

The successful candidate should have a “career of achievement”, says the job specification. They must also have an understanding of the heath sector, a “deep interest in patient experiences” and be an “excellent communicator”.

The interview panel includes chief nursing officier for England Ruth May, Baroness Cumberlege, William Vineall, director at the Department of Health and Social Care and Janice Scanlan, former head of non-executive development at NHS Improvement. 

Applications for the role opened on 10 January and will remain so until 25 January, with the final interview date on 23 March.