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Aviation’s Normal Operations Safety Audit: a safety management and educational tool for health care? Results of a small-scale trial

Authors Bennett SA

Received 6 January 2017

Accepted for publication 21 April 2017

Published 8 August 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 147—165


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Kent Rondeau

Simon A Bennett

Civil Safety and Security Unit, School of Business, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK

Background: A National Health Service (NHS) contingent liability for medical error claims of over £26 billion.
Objectives: To evaluate the safety management and educational benefits of adapting aviation’s Normal Operations Safety Audit (NOSA) to health care.
Methods: In vivo research, a NOSA was performed by medical students at an English NHS Trust. After receiving training from the author, the students spent 6 days gathering data under his supervision.
Results: The data revealed a threat-rich environment, where errors – some consequential – were made (359 threats and 86 errors were recorded over 2 weeks). The students claimed that the exercise improved their observational, investigative, communication, teamworking and other nontechnical skills.
Conclusion: NOSA is potentially an effective safety management and educational tool for health care. It is suggested that 1) the UK General Medical Council mandates that all medical students perform a NOSA in fulfillment of their degree; 2) the participating NHS Trusts be encouraged to act on students’ findings; and 3) the UK Department of Health adopts NOSA as a cornerstone risk assessment and management tool.

Keywords: aviation, safety audit, health care, management benefits, educational benefits

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