In this article John Illingworth of the UK Health Foundation looks at the importance of patient perspectives in patient safety. We agree that the way patients perceive things is the most relevant and perhaps the key perspective.
The patient is the only person who has the whole process view, the "big picture", through the primary to secondary care continuum. It is only with the knowledge of the "big picture" that the real problems, the root causes, can be identified and fixed.
The article goes on to suggest that the current practice of determining patient safety by looking at past harms could be balanced with the patients' perspective on issues that could be potential risks. Jane O'Hara and fellow researchers at the Bradford Institute for Health Research are developing what is called a ‘patient measure of safety’ – a survey instrument.