In this episode Dr Carol Sinnott talks about research into operational failures in primary care. She is a GP and a senior clinical research associate at the THIS Institute, University of Cambridge.

Operational failures and how they influence the work of GPs: A qualitative study in primary care

Read the paper: https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp20X713009

Operational failures, defined as inadequacies or errors in the information, supplies, or equipment needed for patient care, are known to be highly consequential in hospital environments. This qualitative study shows that operational failures are also common and burdensome in UK primary care. Examples included problems in the supply of information to GPs from external healthcare providers, technology problems, and missing or broken equipment. These problems required what was termed ‘compensatory labour’ to address them. Although GPs’ compensatory labour usually resolved the problem more quickly in the short term than did redirecting failures to their source, it may in fact be counterproductive in the longer term by rendering invisible at system level the operational failures themselves and the possible improvement opportunities associated with them.