Blame often attributed to others in patient safety incident reports

September 12, 2017, American Academy of Family Physicians

When primary care staff members report patient safety incidents, they often attribute blame not to system failures but to the actions of individuals, according to a new study. Because fear of blame and retribution are known to prevent health care staff, particularly in hospital settings, from using incident reporting systems to communicate patient safety concerns, researchers in the United Kingdom explored the nature of blame from primary care incident reports themselves.

They analyzed incident reports from the England and Wales National Reporting and Learning System according to pre-specified classification systems to describe incident type, contributory factors, outcomes and severity of harm.

Healthcare professionals making incident reports attributed blame to a person in 45 percent of cases (n=975/2148; 95 percent CI, 43-47 percent). In 36 percent of cases, reporters attributed fault to another person, while 2 percent of reporters took personal responsibility. Blame directed at others was more likely in discharge planning, communication, referrals, and diagnosis and assessment incidents, and was commonly associated with incidents where a complaint was anticipated.

The high frequency of blame in primary care incident reports, the authors suggest, may reflect a health care culture that leads to blame and retribution. Improving through analysis of incident reports and identifying areas for learning will require a shift towards a culture that identifies system failures rather than blaming individuals, they conclude.

Explore further: Primary care safety reports on children in England and Wales show areas for improvement

More information: http://www.annfammed.org/content/15/5/455.full

Related Stories

Primary care safety reports on children in England and Wales show areas for improvement

January 17, 2017
An analysis of patient safety incidents involving sick children in England and Wales, published in PLOS Medicine by Dr. Philippa Rees from Cardiff University, UK, and colleagues, reveals areas where primary care providers ...

Nurse-, system-related factors analyzed in wrong-patient events

August 24, 2017
(HealthDay)—Greater focus is needed on correct identification processes in order to prevent wrong-patient medication administration incidents, and system supports for nurses are critical, according to a study published ...

Too many avoidable errors in patient care, says report

March 7, 2016
Avoidable harm to patients is still too high in healthcare in the UK and across the globe—making safety a top healthcare priority for providers and policy makers alike.

Adult hospital deaths in England related to patient safety suggest areas for intervention

June 24, 2014
In a study of all adult deaths occurring in hospitals in England from June 1, 2010, to October 31, 2012, and reported by National Health Service (NHS) staff as related to patient safety incidents, Liam J Donaldson, Institute ...

NHS ill prepared to care for obese patients

July 26, 2011
The NHS is poorly prepared to care for obese patients, lacking dedicated equipment and adequately trained staff, among other things, reveals an analysis of patient safety incidents, published online in Postgraduate Medical ...

Cancer patients receive less support to quit smoking than patients with heart disease

September 12, 2017
Although a cancer diagnosis can motivate people to try to quit smoking, a study of British general practitioners finds that physicians are more likely to support smoking cessation in primary care patients with coronary heart ...

Recommended for you

Calcium and Vitamin D supplements are not associated with risk of heart attacks

February 16, 2018
New research from the University of Southampton has found no association between the use of calcium or vitamin D supplementation and cardiovascular events such as heart attacks.

Study shows options to decrease risk of motor vehicle crashes for adolescent drivers

February 16, 2018
Adolescents who receive comprehensive and challenging on-road driving assessments prior to taking the license test might be protected from future motor vehicle crashes, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham study ...

Being a single dad can shorten your life: study

February 15, 2018
The risk of dying prematurely more than doubles for single fathers compared to single mothers or paired-up dads, according to a study of Canadian families published Thursday.

Keeping an eye on the entire ageing process

February 15, 2018
Medical researchers often only focus on a single disease. As older people often suffer from multiple diseases at the same time, however, we need to rethink this approach, writes Ralph Müller.

Gov't says health costs to keep growing faster than economy

February 14, 2018
U.S. health care spending will keep growing faster than the overall economy in the foreseeable future, squeezing public insurance programs and employers who provide coverage, the government said Wednesday.

Muscle more important than fat in regulating heat loss from the hands

February 14, 2018
In the first study of its kind, Cambridge biological anthropologists have shown that muscle mass is able to predict the rate of heat loss from the hands during severe cold exposure, while body mass, stature and fat mass do ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.