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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Type and impact of clinical incidents identified by a voluntary reporting system covering 130 small animal practices in mainland Europe

Schortz, Lisen; Mossop, Liz; Bergstrom, Annika; Oxtoby, Catherine


Background Veterinary healthcare can be a complex process and may lead to unwanted, potentially harmful patient safety incidents as a consequence, negatively impacting both the practice team and client satisfaction. The aim of this study was to identify how such incidents impact cats and dogs by analysing reports gathered in a large-scale voluntary incident reporting system. Methods Descriptive statistical analysis was used to study a total of 2155 incident reports, submitted by 130 practices on mainland Europe. Results Incidents caused harm in more than 40% of reports. Medication-related incidents were the most frequent type of incident recorded (40%). Treatment-related incidents were the most common type of incident causing patient harm (55%). Anaesthesia-related incidents were the most severe type of incident, resulting in patient death in 18% of these reports. Most incidents were reported from hospital wards, and a significantly higher proportion of cats were harmed by incidents compared to dogs. Conclusion This study demonstrates that patients are regularly harmed by incidents, with medication-related incidents being most common. In depth understanding of incident data can help develop interventions to reduce the risk of incident recurrence.

Published in

Veterinary Record
2022, volume: 191, number: 2, article number: e1629
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Schortz, Lisen
University of Lincoln
Mossop, Liz
University of Lincoln
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
Anicura Albano Small Animal Hospital
Oxtoby, Catherine
The Veterinary Defence Society

UKÄ Subject classification

Clinical Science

Publication Identifiers


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