(Photo: Stig Marlon Weston)

In Safe Hands

In Safe Hands was originally launched in 2011 as a patient safety campaign by the Norwegian Ministry of Health. From 2014, the campaign continued as a five-year programme. In 2019 the secretary for the programme became Department of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety in the Directorate of Health.

Action Plan

From 2019 the programme is replaced by the new National Action Plan for Patient Safety and Quality Improvement (2019-2023). 

The National Action Plan defines four broad principles;


Leadership & Culture, Competences and Skills, National Initiatives for Quality and Safety, System & Structures.

Department of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety has the national responsibility for following up the Action Plan.

The Regional Health Authorities, hospitals and municipalities have the responsibility to implement the goals and target areas from the programme, and further define and adapt the Action Plan to the local context.

Goals and objectives

The overall aim of In Safe Hands is to reduce patient harm and improve patient safety in Norway. To accomplish this, three objectives have been defined:

  • Reduce preventable patient harm.
  • Establish lasting structures for patient safety.
  • Improve the patient safety culture in the health and care services.

Target Areas

A group of health care experts have identified several target areas where the potential for clinical improvements is significant and possible interventions are proven effective. The target areas are:

  • Early detection of patient deterioration (hospital wards, nursing homes and home care services)
  • Prevention, detection and treatment of sepsis (ED and hospital ward)
  • Prevention and treatment of malnourishment (hospital wards, nursing homes and home care services)
  • Safe hospital discharge
  • Safe surgery, with a particular focus on post-operative infections
  • Medication reconciliation 
  • Medication review in nursing homes 
  • Medication review in home care services 
  • Stroke treatment 
  • Prevention of pressure ulcer 
  • Prevention of urinary tract infection 
  • Prevention of central line infection 
  • Prevention of suicide in inpatient psychiatric units
  • Prevention of overdose deaths after discharge from an institution
  • Prevention of falls in healthcare institutions
  • Management of patient safety