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Introduction Little is known about the patient safety culture within surgical departments in UK hospitals. What has been done to date is to survey only permanent senior staff opinion of the safety culture in their institution. This study surveyed both consultant and trainee views on perceived patient safety and compared the results between these two groups. Material and methods The previously validated Team Work and Safety Climate Questionnaire was configured in Survey Monkey format and sent to all surgical trainees and consultant surgeons in the South West Strategic Health Authority. Two reminders were sent to achieve as high a return rate as possible. Results Two hundred and ninety-six replies were received. Forty-four percent of trainees and 30% of consultants responded to the survey. Consultants consistently rated a higher safety culture than surgical trainees. Only 2.9% of trainees believe their patient safety concerns would be acted upon by hospital management. There is notable variation in perceived patient safety culture between hospitals. Conclusion This study has suggested that the patient safety culture in hospitals, within a Strategic Health Authority, is variable and sub-optimal when viewed by surgical trainees and their consultants. This study also provides some evidence that the perception of patient safety in an organization varies according to clinical experience. As trainees deliver a great deal of clinical care, surveys of safety culture should include this group. As perceived patient safety culture is correlated to clinical outcomes, validated safety surveys might form part of the assessment of a hospital's performance, along with outcome and patient satisfaction.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical Risk

Publication Date





52 - 57