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Building a culture of learning and accountability: learning from when things go wrong

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When things go wrong in health and social care, there can be significant consequences for patients, staff, and leaders. But, too often, the voices of people who use services and their families have gone unheard, while staff have feared being blamed for mistakes that result from systemic failings or human error.

So how can health and social care leaders at all levels create a just culture, where mistakes lead to learning? And how can organisations take accountability for learning and improving after something goes wrong?

The King’s Fund is co-hosting this virtual conference in partnership with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman from 13–16 September, in the lead up to World Patient Safety Day on 17 September, to explore how culture is key to enable professionals, patients and organisations to use the learning from mistakes and serious incidents to drive improvement in the safety and quality of care.

Drawing on stories of learning and accountability told from several different perspectives, including case studies, we will examine how taking responsibility for learning offers a positive alternative to a culture of fear or blame. 

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