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Patient safety in primary care: more data and more action needed

Lesley M Russell and Paresh Dawda
Med J Aust 2015; 202 (2): 72-73. || doi: 10.5694/mja14.00964
Published online: 2 February 2015

A better understanding of patient safety threats and incidents is needed to inform preventive action

Although most health care services are delivered in the community-based primary care sector, little is known about medical errors and near misses (here referred to as patient safety threats) and the consequent adverse events and harms (here referred to as patient safety incidents) in primary care. In Australia, research and data on patient safety comes almost exclusively from the hospital sector. The common assumption is that the problem is at least as common in primary care as in other areas of medical practice, but there is currently no mechanism to capture and analyse national data. A better understanding of patient safety threats and incidents in primary care is needed, along with resources to enable preventive action.

  • Lesley M Russell
  • Paresh Dawda

  • Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT.

Correspondence: lesley.russell@anu.edu.au

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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