Incentives drive up error reports

The 'lack of a contractual incentive' could be preventing GPs from reporting patient safety incidents, the RCGP has warned.

Incidents in primary care appear to be particularly under-reported, it said. Although about 95 per cent of patient contact occurs in primary care, it accounts for just 0.25 per cent of reported incidents.

The RCGP told the health select committee that there was no incentive written into the GP contract for GPs to report patient safety. It also said GPs were afraid of reporting incidents because of 'perceived legal risk'.

Other possible causes of low reporting rates cited by the report included the lack of appropriate reporting systems, a lack of knowledge about how to report, and a perception that many reports are not acted upon.

The committee called on the DoH to make it easier for staff to blow the whistle without feeling their careers will be at risk.

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