Patient safety in primary care. In: Health secretary announces plan to cut NHS litigation costs

Rahul Alam, Rebecca Hays, Sudeh Cheraghi-Sohi

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


We congratulate Jeremy Hunt for his sentiment and initiative to reduce avoidable harm in the NHS. Although Mr Hunt indicates that every NHS organisation will be invited to “sign up to safety�, the details outlined in the news media focus on secondary care. This is clearly a topical issue in light of the Mid-Staffordshire tragedies (amongst others), and improvements to safety in this setting are both necessary and long overdue. However, more attention also needs to be drawn to the importance of patient safety in primary care. Over 90% of NHS contact occurs in primary care [1]. Consequently, there is considerable potential for safety failures in this setting but only 0.4% of patient safety incidents are reported from general practice [2]. As such, there is an urgent need for more focused efforts and interventions to identify and reduce potential causes of harm in primary care. Whilst replacing the “blame culture� with a “culture of openness�, increasing transparency and fostering a conducive learning environment are at the forefront of improving patient safety, we also need to tackle the dearth of knowledge regarding the most pertinent patient safety issues in primary care by building a better understanding of what these are and how they can be overcome.
Original languageEnglish
Issue numberg2408
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • Rahul Alam
  • Patient Safety
  • Primary Health Care
  • NHS
  • Error


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