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module menu icon Safety culture centre stage

Before you begin, have you completed the first two modules in this series about patient safety?
Part one: The importance of a safety culture
Part two: Investigating incidents and causes

This module uses content supplied by Dr Denham Phipps of the School of Health Sciences at The University of Manchester. The original CPPE programme was developed in collaboration with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (GM PSTRC). The NIHR GM PSTRC is a partnership between The University of Manchester and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.

Disclaimer: This learning programme is intended to aid the assessment of different aspects of patient safety with a view to making improvements. Using it will not, on its own, ensure you are compliant with health and safety legislation. Organisations should evaluate their own level of compliance with the law and seek competent advice if appropriate.

Some 20 years ago, the Department of Health’s white paper, ‘An Organisation with a Memory’, brought the issue of safety culture to centre stage in healthcare. This is a theme that has continued in policy papers since.

To use the words of the original report: “People may come and go, but an effective safety culture must persist… Culture is perhaps the only aspect of an organisation that is as widespread as its various defences; as such, it can exert a consistent influence on these barriers and safeguards – for good or ill.”

But what is meant by safety culture, and what should pharmacy professionals do about it?