SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • incidents;
  • patient safety;
  • primary care;
  • professionals’ perceptions

Abstract

Objective

The study aims to explore whether health care professionals’ perceptions of patient safety in their practice were associated with the number of patient safety incidents identified in patient records.

Setting

Seventy primary care practices of general practice, general dental practice, midwifery practices and allied health care practices were used in the study.

Methods

A retrospective audit of 50 patient records was performed to identify patient safety incidents in each of the practices and a survey among health professionals to identify their perceptions of patient safety.

Results

All health professions felt that ‘communication breakdowns inside the practice’ as well as ‘communication breakdowns outside the practice’ and ‘reporting of patient safety concerns’ were a threat to patient safety in their work setting. We found little association between the perceptions of health professionals and the number of safety incidents. The only item with a significant relation to a higher number of safety incidents referred to the perception of ‘communication problems outside the practice’ as a threat to patient safety.

Conclusions

This study indicates that the assessment of professionals’ perceptions may be complementary to observed safety incidents, but not linked to an objective measure of patient safety.