False dawns and new horizons in patient safety research and practice

Russell Mannion*, Jeffrey Braithwaite

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


In response to a weight of evidence that patients are frequently harmed as a result of their care, there have been concerted efforts to make healthcare safer, with health systems across the globe investing significant resources in policies and programmes designed to reduce adverse events. Yet, despite extensive efforts, improvements in safety have proved difficult to sustain and spread, with studies confirming there has been no measurable, systems-level improvement in the overall rates of preventable harm. Here, we highlight the limitations of the thinking which underpins current efforts to make healthcare systems safer and point to new and emerging approaches to understanding and addressing patient safety in complex, dynamic health systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-689
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Health Policy and Management
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2017. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Adverse events
  • Health system
  • Patient safety
  • Preventable harm
  • System thinking


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