A patient safety toolkit for family practices

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Major gaps remain in our understanding of primary care patient safety. We describe a toolkit for measuring patient safety in family practices.

Methods Six tools were used in 46 practices. These tools were as follows: National Health Service Education for Scotland Trigger Tool, National Health Service Education for Scotland Medicines Reconciliation Tool, Primary Care Safequest, Prescribing Safety Indicators, Patient Reported Experiences and Outcomes of Safety in Primary Care, and Concise Safe Systems Checklist.

Results Primary Care Safequest showed that most practices had a well-developed safety climate. However, the trigger tool revealed that a quarter of events identified were associated with moderate or substantial harm, with a third originating in primary care and avoidable. Although medicines reconciliation was undertaken within 2 days in more than 70% of cases, necessary discussions with a patient/carer did not always occur. The prescribing safety indicators identified 1435 instances of potentially hazardous prescribing or lack of recommended monitoring (from 92,649 patients). The Concise Safe Systems Checklist found that 25% of staff thought that their practice provided inadequate follow-up for vulnerable patients discharged from hospital and inadequate monitoring of noncollection of prescriptions. Most patients had a positive perception of the safety of their practice although 45% identified at least one safety problem in the past year.

Conclusions Patient safety is complex and multidimensional. The Patient Safety Toolkit is easy to use and hosted on a single platform with a collection of tools generating practical and actionable information. It enables family practices to identify safety deficits that they can review and change procedures to improve their patient safety across a key sets of patient safety issues.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
JournalJournal of Patient Safety
Early online date15 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


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