Introduction Patient safety is a strong driver for quality improvement within the NHS. Maternity units deal with unintended harm to patients on a daily basis. Ensuring a strong patient safety culture within the workforce is important in achieving good clinical outcomes. In Norwich we were unsure of how staff perceived patient safety issues.
Objective To measure staff attitude to patient safety.
Setting Large tertiary hospital delivering 5800 babies annually.
Methods Questionnaires were a previously validated tool and left on delivery suite. Members of the Trust patient safety initiative invited staff on shift to complete. Anonymised questionnaires were returned to the audit department via self addressed envelopes and electronically read in to an excel database. Qualitative comments were hand abstracted.
Results 83 questionnaires were returned from 150 questionnaires, response rate of 55%. Only 3% of responders rated overall patient safety in their work area as poor or failing, with 65% responding that when a mistake is made it is always or most of the time reported. Only 6% of responders felt the unit failed to discuss ways to prevent errors from happening, but 24% felt that mistakes are held against them. Staff felt that mistakes have led to positive changes (64% of responders). Inadequate staffing for workload was a significant concern for 74% of responders, which reflected comments made in free text section of questionnaire.
Conclusions Maternity health professional understand importance of reporting and learning from mistakes to improve patient safety but staff shortages continue to be major concerns.
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