Improving safety in general practice

Providing safe, reliable patient care is a key element of being a GP.

As part of the Safer Care programme, we are working with GPs across England to embed a culture of openness and joint responsibility for patient safety reporting in order to improve patient safety in general practice.  With the support of two practising GPs with specialist knowledge in improving patient safety, we are developing a new approach for detecting adverse events in patient care.   

A Global Trigger Tool (GTT) for general practice, which will help GPs develop a good understanding of their rate of harm, is currently being tested.  Academic analysis of the Global Trigger Tool for general practice will be commissioned at the end of the testing phase, with results anticipated to be published later in 2009.

We are also working to adapt our Leading Improvement in Patient Safety (LIPS) programme, which was initially developed for acute trusts, for general practice.  The LIPS programme guides organisations through a series of safety improvement modules that will develop the skills and confidence necessary to achieve sustained reductions in patient harm.   


Latest news

We are pleased to announce that over 1,700 patient records have now been reviewed using the prototype Global Trigger Tool for general practice.  We have a network of GP practices spread across 11 PCTs assisting us with the development of the tool.  We hope to be able to undertake a large-scale scientific evaluation of the tool in April. 

An article on improving patient safety in general practice appeared in a recent edition of Health Care Risk Report*, which included a contribution from Dr Richard Jenkins on the development of a Global Trigger Tool for use in general practice.  Click here to download a copy of the article (opens in new window - PDF 51KB). 

More information on the Global Trigger Tool for general practice can be found in our information leaflet, which you can download here (opens in new window - PDF 302KB).   See also the Global Trigger Tool page of our website.

You may also like to download our newsletter on improving patient safety in general practice and mental health (opens in new window - PDF 887KB).   

If you would like to be kept updated with progress on this area of work, or are interested in getting involved, please contact us at   


* Health Care Risk Report is published by Chamberlain Dunn.  To order a sample copy of the journal or to sign up for the free monthly newsletter, visit