Episode Summary

Dr. Drew Rae and Dr. David Provan have a great discussion in this episode around a recently published research paper around the features of safety in maternity units. While these features can’t be exactly applied to all industries as a “How to” guide on safety, they do offer great insights into the thought process behind these safety measures. This in turn makes it easier to apply to different industries – using a similar approach but end up with an industry-specific implementation.

Episode Notes

The findings of this research point to the importance of staff buy-in and a team-driven approach to safety.


  • Introduction to research paper Seven features of safety in maternity units
  • The premise of the study
  • Understanding the process behind data collection for this study
  • The Finding of the paper
  • Six Features/themes of patient safety
  • Rules & procedures vs social control mechanisms
  • Patient feedback
  • Refining the Safety findings:
  1. Commitment to safety and improvement
  2. Staff improving working processes
  3. Technical competence supported by formal training and informal learning
  4. Teamwork, cooperation, and positive working relationships
  5. Reinforcing, safe, ethical behaviors
  6. Systems and processes designed for safety -regularly reviewed and optimized.
  7. Effective coordination and the ability to mobilize quickly
  • Generalization of processes isn’t always helpful


“The forces that create positive conditions for safety in frontline work may be at least partially invisible to those who create them.” – Dr. David Provan

“Unlike last time, we’re now explicitly mentioning patients’ families, so last time it was ‘just do patient feedback’, now we’re talking about families being encouraged to share their experience.” – Dr. Drew Rae

“These seven [Safety Findings] may or may not be relevant for other domains or contexts but the message in the paper is – go and find out for yourself what is relevant and important in your context.” – Dr. David Provan


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