Vets urged to admit adverse events

Veterinary professionals should not be afraid to admit “near misses”, but use them as an opportunity to reduce errors in practice.

That is according to Liz Mossop, professor of veterinary education at The University of Nottingham Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

No-blame culture

Sharing near misses is a powerful way of preventing future issues, Dr Mossop said.

“Something as simple as an ’oops book’, where staff write down their close calls, can be an informal, but helpful, way to develop a culture where blame isn’t immediately attributed and subsequently punished,” she told delegates during her BEVA Congress 2017 lecture “Reducing error in veterinary practice – learning from human health care”.


Dr Mossop also examined other models from human health care, which vets could apply in practice for the benefit of all.

This includes empowerment, whereby staff feel able to have open and honest discussions about protocols, safety culture and adverse events, safe in the knowledge they will not be reprimanded.

The implementation of formal protocols to enhance communication – such as regular briefings, debriefings and huddles – could also be beneficial, as could the opportunity to learn together.


The concept of looking out for each other in practice is also vital, Dr Mossop said.

“We owe it to each other, and our patients, to be aware of the signs of mental health problems in each other and signpost people to appropriate help,” she concluded.