Objective: To evaluate the patient safety culture in primary healthcare units.
Design: A cross-sectional study, utilizing the Turkish version of the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and a demographic questionnaire.
Setting: Twelve primary healthcare centers in the center of the city of Konya, Turkey.
Participants: One hundred and eighty healthcare staff, including general practitioners (GPs), nurses, midwives and health officers.
Main outcome measure(s): The patient safety culture score including subscores on 12 dimensions and 42 items; patient safety grade and number of events reported.
Results: Fifty-four (30%) of the participants were GPs, 48 (27%) were nurses, 51 (28%) were midwives and 27 (15%) were health officers. The mean overall score for positive perception of patient safety culture in primary healthcare units was 46 +/- 20 (43-49 CI). No differences were found by staff members' profession. Among the dimensions of patient safety, those with the highest percentage of positive ratings were teamwork within units (76%) and overall perceptions of safety (59%), whereas those with the lowest percentage of positive ratings were the frequency of event reporting (12%) and non-punitive response to error (18%). Reporting of errors was infrequent with 87% of GPs, 92% of nurses and 91% of other health staff indicating that they did not report or provide feedback about errors.
Conclusions: Improving patient safety culture should be a priority among health center administrators. Healthcare staff should be encouraged to report errors without fear of punitive action.