Psychological Safety

Psychological Safety in the Real World of Health and Care

Published June 2021

If we are going to mobilise everyone in the health and care system to transform care for patients, we need to create the conditions where people feel they can speak up, offer ideas, and ask questions without fear of being punished or embarrassed.

So psychological safety is always at the forefront of the thinking of a team like NHS Horizons. It’s an important principle but not always easy to apply, even in a small team like ours. The bigger or broader the team, the trickier it gets.  

So creating psychological safety at an integrated care system level is a big challenge.  

Yet the ICS leadership teams that we have worked with have shown outstanding leadership and resolve, in their quest to build psychological safety to accelerate effective system change. We have learned from these leaders that creating the right conditions requires time and commitment. You have to start somewhere.

Being open to the possibility of working differently, encouraging curiosity and using data to generate insights are enabling systems we have worked with are making progress. We hope that sharing our experience and practical tools will help others working to maximise the impact of their ICS on the health and care of the communities they serve.

Psychological safety is not the goal but creating it is a significant enabler for achieving our shared purpose.

Helen Bevan
Chief Transformation Officer