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Patients and the Public

Patient safety is an issue which concerns all those who care for patients and lies at the heart of medical practice. All surgeons have a primary responsibility to participate in established procedures and to develop new measures to improve patient safety. The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh's Patient Safety Board is committed to improving standards through education and training and by supporting research into human factors which may prevent or mitigate patient harm.


The College's Patient Safety Board (PSB)

The Patient Safety Board was set up in 2006 under the Chairmanship of Mr Simon Patterson-Brown with the aim of 'maintaining and improving patient safety through research and evidence'. The PSB recognises the need to promote a safe environment for patients undergoing surgery, through recognition, pre-emption and remediation of surgical error - both technical and non-technical. By the elevation of the awareness of the potential for, and impact of, medical error on surgical patients it is hoped that the performance of operating teams will improve and that surgery will become safer for the patient.


The three main functions of the Patient Safety Board are:

  1. Teaching and training of patient safety issues to the surgical community
  2. Research and development of all issues related to patient safety in the operating environment
  3. Setting standards for the practising surgeon in relation to patient safety issues

In order to achieve these aims, the Patient Safety Board undertakes the following activities:

  1. Develops and runs courses on patient safety and related topics
  2. Promotes the integration of patient safety training and assessment into the curricula of all surgical specialties
  3. Supports research into error sources and mechanisms within the operative environment and techniques for improvement
  4. Acts as advocates for the safety of the surgical patient in matters of surgical training
  5. Represents the College in such matters relating to patient safety in surgery
  6. Develops links with sister organisations
  7. Acts as a 'condenser' of information relevant to patient safety in the surgical setting

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