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11. Why this is key for patient safety

Although all people make errors, they do not all have the same meaning or transcendence. Clinical errors have a very different importance because the health (and sometimes the life) of patients is at stake.

Healthcare activity in hospitals and social & primary care centres is not risk-free and sometimes, unexpectedly, a patient may suffer some kind of harm in the course of the care he or she is receiving. The idea that only “bad” professionals make errors, precisely because of their ineptitude, is false. It would be fantastic if it were true, because it would imply that, with a simple solution, separating these “bad professionals”, we would solve the problem of patient safety. But the reality is much more complex and all professionals, even those with an excellent track record, can make an error with serious or fatal consequences.

The organizational culture that shares the idea that errors are occasional and the result of the inexperience of a few professionals, only leads to hide or disguise reality and, ultimately, to subject patients to a greater risk. Healthcare organizations that act in this way lose the opportunity to prevent future safety incidents and also put at risk the legal certainty, clinical judgement capacity and working wellbeing of their professionals.


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