Last updated: 07.03.16

300,000 learners enrol for Virtual College’s online patient safety training

A doctor from University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust has become the 300,000th National Patient Safety Suite learner.

Developed by Virtual College in partnership with NHS England, the National Patient Safety Suite is comprised currently of 16 patient safety e-learning courses, including The Safe Use of Insulin. 96% of learners would recommend these courses to a colleague.

Virtual College presented Dr. Jessica Patel, the 300,000th learner, with an iPad Air 2 and a cheque for £300 which is being donated to her nominated charity, ‘The Guide Dogs for the Blind’’.

Dr Patel commented: “Patient safety is obviously of fundamental importance but in a busy medical environment it is difficult to undertake vital training by traditional classroom methods.

“The flexibility of Virtual College’s online learning is ideally suited to our 24/7 working environment to ensure large numbers of staff engage with the training.”    

The original need for these learning resources arose in 2010, when NHS Diabetes research showed significant problems in the treatment and care of diabetes sufferers in hospitals.

This included over 30% of inpatients who had experienced an error in medication and nearly 3,900 incidents of incorrect dosage involving insulin. A series of high profile cases, including three deaths, were also highlighted.

The Safe Use of Insulin e-learning course was developed rapidly and tested by Virtual College in partnership with NHS Diabetes (now NHS England). A bespoke Learning Management System was created in order to register learners and allow them instant access to the course.

Judith Clarkson, Divisional Director at Virtual College, commented: “The number of learners was expected to be around 40,000 spread across a number of different hospital trusts. In less than 12 months, the number of learners had already exceeded 50,000.”

Building on the success of this service and the recognition that online learning could provide a successful solution for other areas of patient safety training, Virtual College developed the comprehensive National Patient Safety Suite (NPSS), in consultation with subject matter experts.

“We have developed the courses with clinical experts and continue to add new topics to meet the consistently high level of demand for patient safety training, “said Judith.

“It is rewarding to know that these resources are helping 300,000 learners to minimise avoidable harm.”

Over 100 community, acute, mental health trusts, CCGs, universities and private healthcare organisations are already subscribed to the suite. Subscription provides 12 months unlimited training access for staff across all 16 courses and as the subscription fees are reinvested, additional courses on patient safety topics will continue to be added to the suite.

Further information on the National Patient Safety Suite can be found at: