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Episode 2
37 minutes

Doctor Informed: Why is it so hard to speak out about patient safety?

Mary Dixon-Woods and Zoe Fritz

In the previous episodes of Doctor Informed, we’ve heard why it’s so important to talk about patient safety concerns, and some of the mechanisms that allow hospital staff to raise them, but knowing why and how doesn’t always make it easier to speak out.

In this episode of Doctor Informed with the BMJ we’re exploring the concept of a voiceable concern – identifying what counts as a concern, and what counts as an occasion for voice by an individual, is not a straightforward matter of applying objective criteria- for example how do you tell if you’re witnessing poor practice, or just something that lies outside your area of understanding? Or how do you know if the common practice in this particular ward is actually an outlier when looking at other hospitals?

Created in collaboration with the BMJ, the Doctor Informed: beyond medical knowledge podcast series gives hospital doctors the inside story on the evidence about providing the best care and having positive relationships with patients and colleagues.


Zoe Fritz is a consultant in acute medicine at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, she is also a Wellcome Fellow in society and ethics at THIS Institute, investigating how we communicate and record uncertainty around diagnosis.

Mary Dixon-Woods is director of THIS Institute, and a Health Foundation Professor of Healthcare Improvement Studies in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge. Her work is concerned with generating a high quality evidence-base to support the organisation, quality and safety of care delivered to patients.

Doctor Informed: Why is it so hard to speak out about patient safety?
Other episodes
Episode 6
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Doctor Informed: Full circle
Episode 5
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Doctor Informed: Reflecting on a crisis
Episode 4
50 minutes
Doctor Informed: “But it’s always been done that way…”
Episode 3
51 minutes
Doctor Informed: The blame game
Episode 1
31 minutes
Doctor Informed: The patterns which emerge

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