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The alarming gap between theory and practice in NHS patient safety

25 November 2021
Volume 30 · Issue 21


John Tingle, Lecturer in Law, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, discusses some recently published patient safety reports


In discussing patient safety and health quality in the NHS it is useful to reflect on the extent to which theory and practice match up. Nurses and doctors attend—limited financial and time resources permitting—study days and conferences where patient safety issues are discussed. There are also national and international reports and now the new NHS Patient Safety Syllabus from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (Spurgeon and Cross, 2021).

A general question can be posed as to whether this syllabus will make, and whether education and training in patient safety generally are making, any discernible difference in terms of the NHS patient safety improvement. We can also add into the mix inspection reports from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Perhaps, on reflection this is too diffuse a question to ask? A key related question is how exactly we measure impact, although that is another discussion in its own right.

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