Scottish patient safety initiative is extended to GPs

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 20 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1898
  1. Bryan Christie
  1. 1Edinburgh

Scotland’s national patient safety programme is being extended from hospitals to general practice in what is said to be one of the first developments of its kind in the world.

The programme’s tools, which include safety surveys, case note reviews, and medication monitoring, are being offered to family doctors to help reduce incidents of avoidable harm to patients. The programme has been piloted over the past two years and is now being rolled out across the country.

The programme has been running in hospitals in Scotland since 2007 and has resulted in a 12.4% reduction in death rates. The extension aims to increase awareness among general practice staff of patient safety and integrate it into their daily work.

Scotland’s health minister, Alex Neil, said, “Scotland will be the first country in the world to implement a national patient safety programme across the whole healthcare system.” Initiatives are now in operation across hospitals, general practice, and mental health and maternity services.

The programme in general practice has been designed and is managed by Healthcare Improvement Scotland. The programme manager, Jim Gillies, said, “It concentrates on every staff member understanding their role in keeping patients safe by improving written communications and managing results—for example, having a more accurate record of the medication patients are taking.”

Alan McDevitt, chairman of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee, welcomed the development. “GPs already provide a high quality service to patients, but this programme will further develop a safety culture in general practice.” He added, “It is vital that practices have sufficient resources to maintain high quality general practice to deliver care for our patients and that patients have confidence in their local health services.”


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1898