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Assessment of patient safety culture in Saudi Arabian hospitals
  1. H A Alahmadi
  1. Institute of Public Administration, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hanan Alahmadi, Health Administration, Institute of Public Administration, PO Box 205, Riyadh 11141, Saudi Arabia; h_alahmadi{at}


Context Healthcare organisations in Saudi Arabia are striving to improve patient safety and quality of care through implementation of safety systems and creating a culture of safety.

Objective The purpose of this study to evaluate the extent to which the culture supports patient safety at Saudi hospitals.

Data Collection A survey questionnaire was distributed hospital-wide in 13 general hospitals in Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia, to 223 health professionals including nurses, technicians, managers and medical staff.

Measurement The Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture questionnaire was used to identify dimensions of patient safety culture.

Results Overall Patient Safety Grade was rated as excellent or very good by 60% of respondents, acceptable by 33% and failing or poor by 7%. More than half of respondents thought that managers overlook safety problems that happen over and over. Areas of strength for most hospitals were organisational learning/continuous improvement, teamwork within units, feedback and communication about errors. Areas with potential for improvement for most hospitals were under-reporting of events, non-punitive response to error, staffing, teamwork across hospital units.

Conclusion Leadership is a critical element to the effectiveness of patient safety initiatives. Response to errors is an important determinant of safety culture in healthcare organisations. In order for healthcare organisations to create a culture of safety and improvement, they must eliminate fear of blame and create a climate of open communication and continuous learning.

  • Patient safety
  • safety culture
  • organisational culture
  • staff attitudes
  • Saudi Arabia
  • healthcare quality improvement
  • teamwork
  • culture
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  • Funding Other funders: IPA.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the participating hospitals.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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