Lebanon News

AUB study raises concerns over patient safety in local hospitals

A Lebanese Red Cross ambulance. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Patient safety may be at risk in local hospitals because of a culture that does not encourage staff to report errors, a nationwide study has found.

The study, conducted by American University of Beirut Associate Professor Fadi al-Jardali, found that hospital staff are afraid to share information about mistakes because they believe the errors will be held against them.

Conducted between 2010 and 2011, the survey covered 68 hospitals and included 6,807 health care providers, including nurses, doctors, pharmacists, technicians, safety officers and administrative personnel.

An AUB statement Friday on the study said 81.7 percent of respondents reported they feel their mistakes are held against them and only 38.9 percent of staff said they speak up when they observe something that might negatively affect patient care; 43.1 percent are fearful of asking questions when they have a concern.

In the statement, Jardali said the lack of a system for a non-punitive response to error shows “the culture in some hospitals is still one of blaming and shaming, which means staff are afraid to report errors and at the same time, no one is actually held responsible.”

Staff shortages and heavy workloads may also have a negative impact on patient safety, the study showed.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 02, 2013, on page 3.




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