Health professionals are increasingly expected to take a share in the management of risk in a systematic manner. At its most blunt, clinical risk management is defined as the identification and planned response to negative events that occur during the provision of clinical care and can lead to litigation, the cost of this to the NHS is rapidly rising (Vincent & Clements, 1995). There are, of course, much broader risks to any healthcare organisation, and the approach to risk management in any organisation needs to be systematic. At the start of the process the development of a list of clinical and non-clinical areas in which failures might occur can be overwhelming to clinicians and support staff alike. Rigorous prioritisation of the process is essential, and for practitioners the first rule of sound clinical risk management is common sense.
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