Safety culture survey

In early 2016, we ran an anonymous survey for all community pharmacy staff across the country to gather views on current patient safety incident reporting and learning processes in place.

Patient safety is a fundamental consideration for all frontline health professionals and their employers and the community pharmacy representative bodies are committed to keeping a focus on promoting patient safety throughout all our work.  We want to help ensure that community pharmacy staff have access to information and support on how to improve safety, and have the opportunity to share their knowledge on how pharmacy teams can improve patient experience and outcomes.

We have also been working at a national level to influence changes in policy and regulation that will help to improve patient safety by encouraging more reporting of patient safety incidents and improving feedback and learning.

To inform both of these streams of work, we wanted to understand more about what patient safety culture and practice looks like across the community pharmacy sector at the moment, from the perspective of frontline teams, and also about any barriers to reporting.


Despite the busy winter period, over 600 community pharmacy staff participated in our survey, from all different sized pharmacy businesses.

Their responses indicated that most people found internal incident reporting processes clear, but time constraints and a fear of criminal prosecution were significant barriers in reporting when things have gone wrong.

Full survey results

Follow up

We used the insight from this survey to shape our Report, Learn, Share, Act Review principles and in November 2016 we presented these principles to hundreds of other passionate health and social care professionals at the largest patient safety conference, Patient First.  Check out our poster below.

Incident reporting principles

Patient First poster

We will look into repeating the survey at a future date to measure our progress.

Safety culture assessment tool 

The group have also worked closely with the primary care team from the Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (GM PSTRC) to further develop their Manchester Patient Safety Framework (MaPSaF), which was produced to help healthcare teams reflect on their progress in developing a patient safety culture and managing risks to patient safety.

This tool is designed to help community pharmacy teams understand their stage of development with regards to the importance they place on patient safety.  The MaPSaF is used regularly in other primary care settings, such as general practice, and Pharmacy Voice’s Patient Safety Group has worked with the GM PSTRC team to help make it a more user-friendly and accessible tool for community pharmacy teams and organisations.

Access safety culture tool

The community pharmacy MaPSaF was developed by Darren Ashcroft, Charles Morecroft, Dianne Parker and Peter Noyce at the University of Manchester as part of a project that was funded by the Community Pharmacy Research Consortium. The original framework was developed by Dianne Parker, Tanya Claridge, Sue Kirk, Aneez Esmail and Martin Marshall supported by the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester.