Within GP practices, just as in any organisation, a better safety culture is associated with greater satisfaction and engagement from staff – the safer the culture, the better the care.

It is now accepted that ‘good culture’ in the NHS is crucial to ensure patients receive high quality care and better outcomes. As teams work to improve systems and processes, it is important that teams better understand their own culture to identify what works well and what can be improved.

The West of England AHSN, in partnership with all seven of our clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), has formed a Primary Care Collaborative, with the aim to promote a safety culture in the primary care setting through the use of incident reporting, while supporting the practices involved tools and training in quality improvement methodology. The collaborative launched in June 2016, with 14 practices from across our region taking part.

In order to evaluate practice culture, all practices within the Collaborative are taking part in the SCORE survey. SCORE stands for Safety, Communication, Operational Reliability and Engagement. This is an anonymous, online tool that teams can use to assess their culture. It provides each practice with an overview as to where they are as a team, as well as focusing on specific areas within both Culture and Engagement:

SCORE survey

Completing this survey will provide each practice with a better understand of its team culture – where they get things right, and where they have opportunity to improve.

Once the survey has been completed, the confidential results are provided to that team alone to use to start conversations internally about what and how they would like to improve their culture. The results are not shared with anyone else and will never be used for bench-marking or performance management. The insights from the survey and internal discussions can then be used to provide better care for patients. We will repeat the survey in a year’s time to see the impact of our ongoing improvement work.

The survey itself is carried out by a company called Safe and Reliable Healthcare, LLC who have extensive experience in improving organisational culture. Acknowledgement is given to the South West AHSN and their Regional Patient Safety Lead and Consultant Anaesthetist, Matt Hill, and Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust who introduced the SCORE survey to the region and adapted it for UK usage.


For more information on the Primary Care Collaborative or the SCORE survey, please contact Kevin Hunter, Patient Safety Programme Manager, at kevin.hunter@weahsn.net.

Posted on July 7, 2016

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