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The disparity of frontline clinical staff and managers' perceptions of a quality and patient safety initiative


Miss Anam Parand, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, Room 503, 5th Floor Wright Fleming Building, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK, E-mail:


Rationale, aims and objectives  Arguably, a shared perspective between managers and their clinical staff on an improvement initiative would allow for most effective implementation and increase programme success. However, it has been reported that research has failed to differentiate between managers and line employees on quality management implementation and examine their differences in perceptions of quality and safety initiatives. The aim of this study was to compare clinical frontline staff and senior managers' perceptions on the importance of an organization-wide quality and safety collaborative: the Safer Patients Initiative (SPI).

Method  A quantitative study obtained 635 surveys at 20 trusts participating in SPI. Participants included the teams and frontline staff involved within the programme at each organization. Independent T-tests were carried out between frontline staff and senior managers' perceptions of SPI programme elements, success factors and impact & sustainability.

Results  Statistically significant differences were found between the perceptions of frontline staff and senior managers on a wide number of issues, including the frontline perceiving a significantly larger improvement on the timeliness of care delivery (t = 2.943, P = 0.004), while managers perceived larger improvement on the culture within the organization for safe, effective and reliable care (t = −2.454, P = 0.014).

Conclusion  This study has identified statistically significant disparities in perceptions of an organization-wide improvement initiative between frontline staff and senior managers. This holds valuable implications for the importance of getting both frontline and management perspectives when designing such interventions, in monitoring their performance, and in evaluating their impact.