Monitoring patient safety in North-West London primary care

Samra, Rajvinder; Bottle, Alex and Aylin, Paul (2015). Monitoring patient safety in North-West London primary care. In: Health Services Research Network (HSRN) Symposium, 1-2 Jul 2015, Nottingham.


It is not clear how the safety and quality of primary care are currently monitored, beyond the mandatory reporting of NHS Quality Outcomes Framework indicator data. This exploratory study investigated how information is used to monitor the safety and quality of primary care by professionals working in, or supporting, primary care practices in North-West London (NWL). A secondary objective was to determine which information is required to allow better monitoring of primary care patient safety.

Twenty-one in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals from the local primary care system. Data were subjected to a directed content analysis which focused on the facilitators and barriers to monitoring patient safety in NWL primary care.

Three main themes emerged from the analysis. Participants described being overwhelmed with complicated data which lacked any meaningful analyses about safety and quality. There was also a lack of clarity over which patient safety events are expected to be reported and monitored. Participants also reported uncertainty on whose responsibility it was to act on patient safety information or concerns. Participants made recommendations to improve future monitoring, such as providing a one-page guide for GP practices to display in waiting rooms, outlining what constitutes a patient safety incident, where and how to report them.

The findings indicated the need for clearer and more concise information in the form of specific guidelines, policies and procedures with regard to who monitors patient safety, what is monitored, and how it should be monitored.

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