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Research comment
Significant event reporting in veterinary practice
  1. Mickey Tivers and
  2. Sophie Adamantos
  1. Paragon Veterinary Referrals, Paragon Business Village, Wakefield, UK
  1. email: mickey.tivers{at}

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Patient safety has been defined as ‘the reduction of risk or unnecessary harm associated with healthcare to an acceptable minimum’.1 As veterinary professionals, the safety of our patients has always been a priority. However, the formal concept of patient safety has only recently filtered down from our medical colleagues.

Error and complications have always been associated with healthcare and can act as powerful motivators for learning. However, until relatively recently, specific interest in this area was limited. In order to be able to learn from errors, there needs to be accurate and timely incident reporting.2-5 Removing barriers to reporting in safety-critical industries has ensured that maximum benefit can be attained from learning from errors, thereby improving safety and quality.6

Over the past few years, attempts to improve quality and safety in the medical profession has focused on learning from and reducing error. This involves incident reporting and root-cause analysis to identify adverse events and their causes.7,8 This approach has led to significant and ongoing improvements in patient safety in the medical industry.6 Cultivating a no blame environment is key to adopting the principles of learning from error, and this is where the challenge in veterinary practice currently lies.

Understanding culture is key to creating the right environment to adopt these principles. Understandably, …

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