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Decision aid for safety incidents

GPs involved in patient safety incidents will have their actions scrutinised using a 'decision tree' to help PCTs decide the best response.

The decision tree, launched last week by the National Patient Safety Agency, is intended to reduce knee-jerk reactions which lead to staff being suspended.

It takes investigators through a series of questions, including whether staff acted deliberately, were ill, departed from known protocols or took unacceptable risks, or had training deficiencies.

The NPSA said it would release a version this summer for GPs to use for incidents in their practice.

NPSA joint chief executive Susan Williams said: 'All too often the immediate response to an error has been to blame the staff and ignore the underlying causes. It is in everyone's interests that alternatives to suspension are considered.'

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