5 Dealing with incidents, errors and near misses

Patients should always be protected from harm, but mistakes do occasionally happen through things like lack of knowledge, poor communication or sharing of information, stress, failure to take proper care (negligence) or being distracted. They may be:

  • incidents or adverse events due to actions (or lack of actions) that have led to unexpected harm which should have been preventable
  • errors or doing something in the wrong way
  • or near misses whereby a situation which could have harmed an individual was avoided by chance or purpose.

Any of these could occur in your workplace and it’s really important that you recognise when such an incident occurs and know what action to take. In the next audio clip Gail talks about possible incidents that could occur in healthcare settings.

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Reporting of incidents in the workplace
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Like Gail, your workplace will have a form which you should complete to record the facts of the incident, accident or near miss. Doing this will help to reduce the same mistakes recurring in the future. You should complete the form as soon as possible after the event and make your manager aware straight away. (Skills for Care 2015e)

4 Handling comments and complaints

6 Equality and diversity