Blame culture is still a problem in tackling patient safety

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 06 December 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:1172
  1. Lisa Hitchen
  1. 1London

    A culture of blame still stops healthcare professionals from reporting patient safety incidents, a Department of Health expert told a conference in London last week.

    Jane Moore, director of healthcare quality at the department, said that the latest data from the Healthcare Commission, England’s healthcare watchdog, showed that harm to patients while in hospital was still a major problem.

    In 2005-6 63% of organisations complied with all core safety standards, but this figure had fallen to 61% in 2006-7, the commission’s annual health check data showed. The commission also found that a similar number of independent sector providers had failed to meet national minimum standards on safety, Dr Moore told the conference on risk and patient safety, organised by the company Healthcare Events.

    “We still blame individuals rather than look at what the causes of patient safety incidents are,” she said. “This means people still find it difficult to report [incidents].”

    The data had shown some improvements. The number of …

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