Human factors concerns the interactions between people and technical components in complex systems. It is associated with a maturation of wider system safety management and can make an important contribution to equipment design, safety assurance, system management and incident investigation. It does this by allowing the requirements and constraints of the system operators (people) to be formally described and systematically understood.

It is recognised that human factors can provide enormous benefits to patient safety through better understanding of human related clinical tasks and risks and the people element of clinical processes, including cognitive, social and behavioural elements.

This document reports the findings from a scoping study into human factors training in the NHS. This study was carried out  by Human Engineering Limited and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement’s Safer Care team.

The aims of this scoping study were to:

Describe current human factors provision to the NHS to:

  1. Inform NHS trusts who want to develop human factors capability and capacity
  2. Identify gaps where work or training may need to be developed or commissioned

Describe the views of NHS trusts in relation to human factors training:

  1. What would have the greatest impact in improving patient safety?
  2. How they currently use human factors training to support patient safety
  3. Barriers to accessing human factors trainin
  4. Ways in which their use of training from a range of providers might be facilitated

Please download the scoping study below.