This paper describes practical implications and learning from a multi-method study of feedback from patient safety incident reporting systems. The study was performed using the Safety Action and Information Feedback from Incident Reporting model, a model of the requirements of the feedback element of a patient safety incident reporting and learning system, derived from a scoping review of research and expert advice from world leaders in safety in high-risk industries. We present the key findings of the studies conducted in the National Health Services (NHS) trusts in England and Wales in 2006. These were a survey completed by risk managers for 351 trusts in England and Wales, three case studies including interviews with staff concerning an example of good practice feedback and an audit of 90 trusts clinical risk staff newsletters. We draw on an Expert Workshop that included 71 experts from the NHS, from regulatory bodies in health care, Royal Colleges, Health and Safety Executive and safety agencies in health care and high-risk industries (commercial aviation, rail and maritime industries). We draw recommendations of enduring relevance to the UK NHS that can be used by trust staff to improve their systems. The recommendations will be of relevance in general terms to health services worldwide.