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To learn the lessons, think beyond the specialty

10 December 2020
Volume 29 · Issue 22


John Tingle, Lecturer in Law, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, discusses some recent patient safety reports and how they can help better inform care and quality practices across the NHS

Organisational working cultures in the NHS may differ considerably depending on which area of clinical practice the health professional is working in and this has important patient safety implications. In a hospital, the working culture may be different on the dialysis unit compared with that of the maternity unit or A&E. This diversity of culture can be found in all types of organisations. In terms of culture development and execution, organisations are wholly dependent on the staff they employ to properly carry out their functions and to translate their corporate mission statements into practice. These may often be bold, highly refined, ambitious, organisational mission statements.

Patient safety reports have a key role in helping staff maintain and develop good organisational cultures. They are a rich source of real-time information showing how nurses and doctors can better work in organisations and how best to reduce the risks of adverse health events occurring. They can reveal common trends, errors and ways of dealing with acute patient safety issues. They can function as good education and training tools, providing a baseline of good professional practice.

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