Managing risk in healthcare is a universal challenge for doctors and other
professionals. Doctors tread a difficult path, with the expectation that they will
make robust decisions balanced against criticisms of being overly paternalistic.
There is risk associated with every clinical decision, whether it is to do something,
or do nothing. Beyond risk factors identified by statistical analysis there is no
substitute for clinical experience. An early sign in burn out of doctors is their
reduced ability to tolerate the anxiety of making risky decisions.
Good risk management is also dependent on communication of risk with other
Changing our Practice to Support Improvement
Scotland’s medical staff, working with all our colleagues in health and social care,
continue to be at the forefront of the wide range of improvements in the safety,
effectiveness and quality of care and treatment within our National Health
Improvements in the quality of care are often dependent upon having the right
conditions in place – positive relationships with colleagues, a learning culture and
an understanding of tried and tested ways of implementing change in complex
We should be focusing completely and relentlessly on what matters most to the
people who look to them for care, support and treatment.