A majority of healthcare professionals in Britain say factors other than patients’ best interests play a role in their day-to-day medical decision-making, research shows.
A new survey of medical professionals for JMW Solicitors suggests that 54% of healthcare professionals believe that their patients’ best interests are not top of their agenda when making important choices about their care.
The survey, conducted by YouGov, found that aside from patients’ best interests, the top factors driving medical decision-making are staffing levels (31%), availability of services such as testing and referrals (20%), equipment (16%) and beds (12%).
Fear of being sued is not significant, however, with only 10% believing it is a main consideration in their decision-making.
Nicola Wainwright, clinical negligence partner at JMW Solicitors, said: “Most patients would expect their best interests to be paramount when decisions are being made about their care and it is extremely worrying that it is not always the case. The factors that impact on decision making, such as staffing levels, need to be addressed to improve patient care and safety.
“The Government suggests that if litigation was reduced that would help improve care, but our survey shows litigation is not actually even in the top factors affecting the care that is given.
The poll also found that more than eight in ten (83%) of healthcare professionals identified factors that play a role in preventing staff admitting mistakes which could be learnt from. More than two-fifths (42%) believe a ‘blame culture’ where colleagues and management blame others when things go wrong, plays a top role.