This discussion paper brings together the concept of patient-centred practice with interprofessional working and the spectrum of preventive and restorative approaches to patient safety. I explore what might be involved in putting patients at the heart of a team-based approach to the prevention and management of potential clinical errors in their own care; and use the current literature to explore areas where interprofessional practice-based interventions may help to improve quality of care in ways that can prevent or minimize patient risk. I argue that involving patients in safety issues will only happen when staff are motivated by real rather than hypothetical needs, and will largely involve actions taken at an interpersonal level during routine health care. The paper describes a spectrum of practical approaches that can be implemented by teams and organizations, ranging from whole population prevention strategies to the learning that can be gained from avoidable deaths. It explores concrete examples of the ways in which individual patients might be included in a team approach to self protection, and addresses underpinning principles of effective interprofessional working which are needed to make such approaches effective.