Safer Clinical Systems: NHS Dumfries & Galloway

  • Run by a team at NHS Dumfries & Galloway.
  • Based at Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary, with an initial focus on the acute medical admission unit.
  • Ran from October 2011 for 2 years and aimed to improve prescribing practice and reduce prescribing errors in all acute medical admissions to the hospital.
  • Aimed to create a defined prescribing process and discover where errors occurred and why. 

A team at NHS Dumfries & Galloway set out to improve prescribing practice and reduce prescribing errors in all acute medical admissions to the Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary.

Prescribing errors are a significant problem that the hospital is eager to address. This project aimed to create a defined prescribing process and to discover where errors occur and why. With this knowledge, participants were tasked with designing improvements to the system to minimise the risk of human error and the resulting patient harm. The project set out to explore the human factors behind errors, and to develop situational awareness training for doctors.


The intended project benefits were: to improve prescribing safety; to engage more staff in serious consideration of patient safety; and to improve the safety culture within the organisation.

There were two main aims for the project:

  • To improve the safety of prescribing by reducing error and potential for harm.
  • To improve the engagement of junior doctors in patient safety.

The project aimed to reduce defined prescribing errors by 50% and to reduce prescribing errors that cause serious harm to zero.

Who was involved?

To assist with the objective of improved engagement of junior doctors, the project team planned to include two junior doctors on the steering group. Their roles were to be involved in developing effective engagement of their colleagues, as well as organising data collection and planning small tests of change. The project also aimed to further address engagement by running regular seminars for junior doctors. 

Further reading

Research report

Safer Clinical Systems: Evaluation findings

Lessons from the second phase of the Safer Clinical Systems programme.

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