About the conference

SDHI gratefully acknowledge the financial support for the conference received from NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and The Health Foundation

A two day conference which explored key questions facing us as researchers, practitioners and policy-makers: questions that addressed better collective learning, sustainable quality improvement and safer patient care

The main conference venue was Upper and Lower College Halls, St Salvators Quad, North Street, St Andrews, KY16 9AJ.  This is marked as 44 (K2) on the University map

Delegates joined us in the beautiful setting of St Andrews for two days of discussion and debate, with plenary sessions, interactive workshops and a range of opportunities for networking and learning.

Brief description of the conference themes
Our focus was on how social and organisational research can help deepen our understanding of what makes for safer health care organisations: organisations in which the dynamics and interactions, structures, processes and cultures are conducive to both staff and patient safety. This perspective challenged notions of patient safety that emphasise individuals and individual behaviour change, and moves us on from simply a search for ‘interventions’ that can be applied in the hopes of improving care.

Some of the issues included:

  • How interactions between health professionals are affected by local cultures, professional identities and role boundaries;
  • How individuals and groups in health care organisations learn in formal and informal ways, with a particular emphasis on collective learning;
  • How good (or less good) practices are sustained and spread through and between organisations;
  • How the policy, organisational and professional contexts can support or work against safer care;
  • How unintended consequences can arise through implementation of interventions intended to improve safety and quality;
  • How patient safety and staff safety (including concepts of ‘psychological safety’) are interconnected;
  • How the ways in which patient safety is framed by policy-makers and managers can influence the potential for effective action nationally and locally.

Delegate comments about the 2011 conference:

 “Fabulous setting, lovely food and ideal venue”

 “An interesting, important and enjoyable conference”

 “Very useful and stimulating”

 “I would recommend it to other clinical academics”

 “Excellent, well run conference, great speakers, excellent location and conference facilities”