Regulating Patient Safety during Hospital Discharges: Casting the Patient Safety Commissioner as the Representative of Order

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This article examines the challenges in regulating patient safety during hospital discharges in England through the lens of liminality. Hospital discharges are internationally recognised as being a dangerous time for patients, and yet the role that regulators should play in addressing this has received little attention in any jurisdiction. Liminality’s spotlight on the in-between highlights how the discharge process can give rise to patient safety incidents that fall between regulator’s boundaries. Falling between boundaries results in a dearth of effective regulatory responses to address these incidents. By positioning the new role of Patient Safety Commissioner (PSC) as that of a ‘Representative of Order’, this article proposes a means by which this poorly regulated space could be navigated more successfully. This analysis suggests that the remit of the PSC role be expanded to include improving patient safety with regard to processes - not just medicines and medical devices. The full implications of this are also addressed.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalMedical Law International
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2021