Risk, governance and patient safety

(Available to study from October 2020)

This module provides participants with an understanding of risk and governance as it applies to healthcare organisations and systems.

Students will examine the balancing of priorities for healthcare organisations, such as financial stability and patient care and safety, and the sharing of risk across individual organisations within a system. It supports students to learn how to assess, develop, implement, and monitor risk management plans with the goal of adopting a systematic approach to maintaining and improving the quality of patient care and minimising risk in the context of service standards, efficiency and sustainability. The module has a particular focus on systematic and system-wide approaches to safety and security – as applied to patients, data, and research and development.

This module seeks to equip participants with the knowledge, skills and understanding to apply the principles of risk management and governance effectively in all types of healthcare organisation, and more broadly across entire health systems.

Topics covered

  • Principles and practices of healthcare governance
  • Board level governance
  • Clinical governance at system, organisational, departmental, team and individual levels
  • Regulatory agencies and frameworks in healthcare
  • Developing, producing and managing risk registers and risk management plans
  • Establishing and measuring activity and outcomes against key performance indicators
  • Data security in healthcare
  • Establishing and maintaining a culture of clinical and operational effectiveness
  • Research and development (R&D) governance, safety and risk
  • Managing strategic partnerships and stakeholder relationships in healthcare

Learning outcomes

If you complete the module successfully, you should be able to:

  • evaluate a range of clinical and administrative indicators of safety and safe delivery of high-quality care.
  • devise an effective approach to risk management in healthcare through risk identification, risk measurement and risk management.
  • analyse the different methods used for collecting data for clinical governance including patient feedback, clinical records, and national reference data.
  • critically assess a range of methods that can be used to mitigate risk exposure in a clinical setting.
  • outline a variety of ways in which health records and information systems can be utilised in clinical and administrative governance practices.
  • summarise the ways in which departmental and organisational culture can influence clinical and operational effectiveness.
  • recognise the risks, challenges, opportunities and benefits that arise from relationships between individuals, groups and organisations involved in healthcare delivery and service users, advocacy groups, industry and other strategic partners.
  • appraise the steps needed to ensure organisational readiness for regulatory inspection or accreditation and contrast different regulatory approaches taken around the world.
  • critically assess a range of risk assessment tools and select the most appropriate for use in given situations.
  • apply risk control techniques to reduce patient errors and increase safety.
  • apply event and incident management principles to healthcare settings.
  • devise and maintain systems for the collection of data on untoward incidents.
  • critically appraise different methods for measuring and managing clinician and team performance, including their impact on professional behaviours and well being.
  • integrate concepts of ethics, law and regulation to achieve optimal organisational effectiveness while adhering to personal and professional values.
  • recognise education and training as central to establishing and maintaining a culture of risk minimisation, transparency, quality management and quality improvement.


Coursework (50% weighting):

There is one item of coursework for this module which contributes to the final assessment mark for this module:

Coursework: a written assignment of a maximum of 2,000 or 2,500 words (deadline – weeks 9-12). The coursework is designed to check student progress, extend and reinforce concepts covered and also test individual performance.

Examination (50% weighting):

The final piece of assessment will be an unseen written examination of two hours' duration.