Optimising patient safety is a goal of healthcare. Much has been spoken and written about it, and it is well established as a core activity for all those working in healthcare systems. This has not always been the case; historically, error and harm from healthcare was an accepted risk of treatment. However, as standards of treatment and care have improved this acceptability was questioned and refuted, and the patient safety movement born.
This article, published in Anaesthesia, summarises the evolution of safety science, describing historical approaches, comparing them with recent concepts in safety, and describing how they affect staff working within the healthcare system.