The objective of this research paper, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, was to investigate doctors’ intentions to raise a patient safety concern by applying the socio-psychological model ‘Theory of Planned Behaviour’.
While raising a concern was considered an appropriate professional behaviour, there were multiple barriers to raising a concern, which could be explained by the Theory of Planned Behaviour.
Negative attitudes operated due to a fear of the consequences, such as becoming professionally isolated. Disapproval for raising a concern was encountered at an interpersonal and organisational level.
Organisational constraints of workload and culture significantly undermined the raising of a concern.
Responses about concerns were often side-lined or not taken seriously, leading to demotivation to report. This was reinforced by high-profile cases in the media and the negative treatment of whistle-blowers.
While regulator guidance acted as an enabler to justify raising a concern, doctors felt disempowered to raise a concern about people in positions of greater power, and ceased to report concerns due to a perceived lack of action about concerns raised previously.