Safety culture

This indicator uses data from the NHS Staff Survey to look at safety culture in the NHS.

Indicator

Last updated: 30/11/2018

Safety
Hospital care Emergency care Mental health Learning disability Public health Social care

A good safety culture in healthcare is one where staff have positive perceptions of psychological safety (an environment where no one is hesitant to voice a concern and will be treated with respect when they do), teamwork and leadership, and feel comfortable discussing errors (Health Foundation, 2013). Caregivers are accountable for being capable, conscientious and not engaging in unsafe behaviour, but should not be held accountable for system failures. Leaders should hear patients and caregivers' concerns regarding defects which interfere with the delivery of safe care, and promote improvements in safety.


What proportion of staff report that their organisation takes action to ensure that errors, near misses or incidents do not happen again? 30/11/2018

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When errors, near misses or incidents are reported, it is the responsibility of the organisation to take action to ensure that they do not happen again. Between 2015 and 2017, the proportion of NHS Staff Survey respondents who agreed/strongly agreed that their organisation takes action increased slightly from 67% to 69% (data not shown).

This indicator shows that NHS staff working in Acute Specialist Trusts report that their organisation takes the most action to ensure that errors, near misses or incidents do not happen again; in 2017, 74% of respondents from Acute Specialist Trusts said that their organisation takes action. In contrast, Ambulance Trust staff report that their organisation takes the least action; in 2017, only 52% of respondents said that their organisation takes action and 16% reported that they do not take action.


What proportion of staff would feel secure raising concerns about unsafe clinical practice? 30/11/2018

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NHS Staff Survey respondents are asked if they would feel secure raising concerns about unsafe clinical practice. Overall, the proportion of staff agreeing/strongly agreeing that they would feel secure raising concerns increased from 68% in 2014 to 70% in 2017 (data not shown).

Results from the most recent survey show that 75% of staff from Community Trusts would feel secure raising concerns about unsafe clinical practice, but 8% would not. This compares to 62% of Ambulance Trust staff who would feel secure, but 15% of them would not feel secure.


How does feeling secure raising concerns about unsafe clinical practice compare across different staff groups? 30/11/2018

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According to the 2017 NHS Staff Survey, 32% of general managers 'strongly agree' that they would feel secure raising concerns about unsafe clinical practice. This compares to 28% of medical/dental consultants, 22% of social workers, 18% of ambulance staff, and only 12% of medical/dental trainees.


About this data

This indicator used data from the NHS Staff Survey. The scores were calculated as the percentage of respondents who gave a specific answer to a question, or a defined set of responses to a series of questions. The responses for each respondent were summarised for each organisation using a weighting procedure. In order to make NHS organisations’ scores comparable, individual’s scores were weighted so that the occupational group profile of the organisation reflected that of a typical organisation of its type. For comparisons between 2015/2016 and 2017 scores, the data from previous years were re-weighted according to the 2017 weights.

For more information, please see the 2017 NHS Staff Survey Supporting Documents and Making sense of your Staff Survey data document.

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