Clinical risk – minimising harm in practical procedures and use of equipment

Jane Cowan (Former Consultant Paediatrician and currently Medico‐legal Adviser to the Risk Management Unit of the Medical Protection Society, Leeds, UK)

British Journal of Clinical Governance

ISSN: 1466-4100

Publication date: 1 December 2000


The article discusses some of the clinical negligence problems and risk management issues arising from training of health professionals (predominantly junior hospital doctors) in practical procedures. There continue to be incidents, claims and complaints in the NHS arising from the clinical practice of doctors or other health professionals who are not perceived to be competent in some of the practical skills they are undertaking. This article addresses some aspects of this training, where it should best be started and who should have responsibility for ensuring that doctors, in particular, continue to work under appropriate supervision. Also acknowledges the current problems facing NHS trusts in trying to ensure that risk management standards are met for training health professionals in the use of medical equipment – a task that has not previously needed to be documented or accounted for on a formal basis. There are considerable resource implications attached to the introduction of systems that can assess and monitor the training provided in the use of medical equipment but the introduction of a baseline assessment is an essential part of sound clinical governance and risk management. It is suggested that risk management exercises of this nature are worthwhile in reducing the potential for harm to patients.



Cowan, J. (2000), "Clinical risk – minimising harm in practical procedures and use of equipment", British Journal of Clinical Governance, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 245-250.

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Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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