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Safety culture


This programme aimed to enable healthcare organisations across the Oxford AHSN (now Health Innovation Oxford and Thames Valley) region to nurture and develop a culture of safety. The focus is on raising awareness of the relevance and impact of culture on safety, helping partners to build capability to change culture through interventions at different levels.

Safety culture is often described as ‘the way we do things around here’. The NHS as a whole has yet to achieve the right safety culture and there is much we can do, no matter where people work, to develop a collective ‘mindfulness’ towards safety and delivering safe care.

There are many factors that help grow a safety culture. These include having stable and inspiring leadership that listens to the voice of the staff and patients and which recognises safety as a top priority.

A strong safety culture is also about having an engaged and empowered workforce with excellent teamwork and communication, a just culture, psychological safety and shared responsibility and accountability for delivering safe care.

Our Safety Culture workstream aims to help our partner healthcare organisations create the conditions that will nurture and develop a culture of safety by 2019 through raising awareness of the impact of culture on safety.

By building capability for changing culture through a variety of interventions at different levels, we aim to influence and create the right conditions for safety to flourish.

Regional priorities

We are currently scoping the use of several methods to determine which will be the most effective for our programme and partners. These include:

  • Listening exercises where patients and staff raise awareness and understanding of what matters to them
  • Leadership and Board level development, putting safety as a priority and ensuring connectivity between Board and frontline staff
  • Measuring and assessing safety culture within organisations and in primary care
  • Positive incident reporting and learning from excellence
  • Improving understanding of team relationships, behaviour and wellbeing
  • Developing tools to enable effective team work and behaviour, including clinical human factors

Download the safety culture fund application form


Many excellent resources are available which are relevant to safety culture in healthcare.

Some useful links are listed below: