Introduction Engagement of junior doctors in patient safety initiatives is high on the national agenda, but there is a lack of studies evaluating patient safety attitudes among junior doctors.
Methods The Junior Doctor–Patient Safety Attitudes and Climate Questionnaire is a multidimensional scale created using items from already-validated scales and inclusion of new items based on further review. It consists of three subscales: ‘knowledge and training’ (10 items), ‘attitudes to patient safety’ (15 items) and ‘perception of workplace safety climate’ (15 items). This was disseminated to foundation trainees, general practice trainees and hospital core and speciality trainees via the Deanery distribution lists and responses were collected anonymously.
Results A total of 527 complete responses were collected; although self-declared knowledge in patient safety concepts was high, there was less declared understanding of a ‘high reliability organisation’ (74% no/unsure) and the concept of active failures/latent conditions (60% no/unsure). The greatest agreement was demonstrated for the statement ‘Even the most experienced and competent doctors make errors’ (p<0.01). However, more senior trainees and surgical trainees (vs medical trainees) demonstrated greater agreement with ‘Medical error is a sign of incompetence’ (p<0.01). More junior trainees demonstrated greater agreement with ‘Management is more interested in meeting performance targets than focusing on patient safety issues’ (p<0.01).
Conclusions This study demonstrates subtle differences in attitudes to patient safety among junior doctors of different grades and specialities. These should be taken into account when designing interventions to improve patient safety education and culture among junior doctors.
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