Dr Denise Chaffer honoured with CBE

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We are delighted to announce that Dr Denise Chaffer, recently retired Director of Safety and Learning for NHS Resolution has been awarded a CBE in the King’s New Year’s Honours. This is a fantastic recognition of Denise’s distinguished career in the NHS and her leadership of NHS Resolution’s Safety and Learning service for the last 8 years.

Denise Chaffer

Denise has had a 40+ year career in the NHS, starting in 1981 as a registered nurse and qualifying as a midwife and nurse teacher in 1994, before taking on leadership roles as a Director of Nursing and Director and Advisor of Nurse Education. She joined NHS Resolution as Director of Safety and Learning in October 2014, retiring in November 2023, during which time she obtained a PhD in healthcare leadership, published a book ‘Effective leadership: A Cure for the NHS?’, and served a term as the President of the Royal College of Nursing.

Denise has been responsible for building NHS Resolution’s first Safety and Learning function. Under her leadership, the NHS has for the first time benefited from learning from the harm which leads to negligence claims to improve safety and protect the patients of the future. In addition, Denise co-authored guidance for the NHS, ‘Being Fair’ which sets out the case for a more reflective approach to learning from incidents and supporting healthcare staff. She has also been responsible for two innovative programmes at NHS Resolution aimed at improving safety in maternity services: the Maternity Incentive Scheme (MIS) and the Early Notification (EN) Scheme.

Denise launched the first ever clinical fellowship programme for NHS Resolution to bring clinical expertise to learning from negligence claims. A first, ground-breaking publication, ‘Five years of cerebral palsy claims’ looked at data from compensation claims to make safety recommendations in ways which had never been done before. Throughout Denise’s career at NHS Resolution, further reports have followed on emergency care, mental health suicide and diabetes, as well as other specialties.

NHS Resolution is proud to celebrate this honour and to continue to drive forward work to use its unique position to improve patient safety in NHS healthcare in England.