Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Eval Clin Pract. 2010 Jun;16(3):639-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2010.01448.x. Epub 2010 Apr 29.

Patient safety in primary care has many aspects: an interview study in primary care doctors and nurses.

Author information

  • 1Scientific Institute for Quality of Healthcare, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



Scientific definitions of patient safety may be difficult to apply in routine health care delivery. It is unknown what primary care workers consider patient safety. This study aimed to clarify the concept of patient safety in primary care.


We held 29 semi-structured interviews with a purposeful sample of primary care doctors and nurses regarding their perceptions of patient safety. The answers were analysed in an iterative procedure with respect to common themes.


A broad range of specific aspects of primary care were named in relation with patient safety. Medication safety was most frequently mentioned. Most items were categorized as organizational, while the remaining aspects were linked to culture or professionalism. Scientific definitions of patient safety were not mentioned, but some primary care workers gave 'do not harm the patient' as a short definition for patient safety.


Patient safety programmes have mostly targeted specific issues, such as incident reporting and medication safety. However, doctors and practice nurses had a broad view of what constitutes patient safety in primary care. This has implications for the measurement and improvement of patient safety in primary care.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Blackwell Publishing
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk