The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) has launched new guidance for general practice teams enabling them to learn from patient safety incidents and "near misses".
The new Significant Event Audit (SEA) guidance aims to improve the quality and safety of patient care in general practice.
Significant Event Audit (SEA) was established in the mid-1990s as an effective quality assurance method in general practice with the aim of improving patients' experience, care and outcomes and to identify changes that might improve future care. These episodes could include a wrongly administered MMR vaccination or wrongly prescribed medication.
SEA was incorporated into the Quality and Outcomes Framework in 2004, as part of the new General Medical Services contract requirements. An initial scoping exercise by the NPSA found that the quality of SEAs conducted was variable and could be improved. This new guidance aims to raise awareness of how to conduct an SEA in seven simple stages so that general practice teams can learn and improve the quality of patient care.
Speaking about the guidance, Dr Paul Bowie, Associate Adviser, NHS Education for Scotland, said: "The guidance will act as a key educational resource for many primary care teams, enabling them to undertake much more effective SEA. This will further enhance team-based learning and lead to greater opportunities to improve the quality and safety of healthcare. NES is delighted to contribute to the development of this guidance and will be active in promoting its use throughout NHS Scotland".
Joanna Parker, Head of Primary Care at the NPSA, added: "[The guidance] provides a clear, structured approach to help general practice teams turn SEA into a routine team learning activity to the benefit of all their patients and with potential to share that learning across the service."
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