What is a second victim?

Healthcare employees who have experienced a significant personal or professional impact as a result of a patient safety incident can be referred to as a second victim.


Where can I get help?

If you are a healthcare employee and have experienced a significant personal or professional impact as a result of a patient safety incident, there are many sources of support available.


Why support second victims?

Involvement in patient safety incidents can significantly impact healthcare employees’ personal and professional lives, so providing appropriate support is crucial.


What are the origins of 'second victim term'?

The term was developed to highlight the need to support both patients and healthcare staff after harm.


Our purpose

Second Victim Support recognises the impact that a patient safety incident has on the healthcare providers involved.

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General information
about second victims

This section looks at what a ‘second victim’ is, and provides evidence to highlight why it is important to support second victims.

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Looking for support

For second victims

This section contains information about the impact of being involved in a patient safety incident, when and where to find support.

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For those supporting second victims

This section describes the approaches and interventions, which if available, could improve support staff before and after their involvement in a patient safety incident.

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Personal Stories from healthcare employees

Clare’s Story (hospital-based Nurse)

Lucy’s Story (hospital-based Nurse)

Kate’s Story (hospital-based Dentist)

More staff stories


14th March 2023

The impact of staff wellbeing on patient safety

On the 27th of February 2023,  HSIB released an interim report exploring the impact of staff wellbeing on patient safety. Key findings include the ‘significant distress’ experienced by staff when…
6th June 2022

The importance of learning together

‘Organisational learning’ is a key aim of investigations. Crucial to this learning is understanding patients’ and families’ perspectives on what went wrong. Whilst the importance of involving patients and families…
Shireen Hickey standing outside the entrance to Bradford Institute of Health ResearchHomepageStaff insight
6th June 2022

A rose by any other name

An Obstetrics and Gynaecology doctor gives her personal perspective on what she has seen from colleagues who have become 'second victims'. We all know how the rest of that sentence…
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Useful Resources

Just Culture Assessment Framework logo

Just Culture Assessment Framework

 purple toned OSSM pyramid

Organisational Staff Support Model

just culture network

A Just Culture Network

More information

Case studies of
staff support