Background: Insight into the frequency and seriousness of potentially unsafe situations may be the first step towards improving patient safety. Most patient safety attention has been paid to patient safety in hospitals. However, in many countries, patients receive most of their healthcare in primary care settings. There is little concrete information about patient safety in primary care in the Netherlands. The overall aim of this study was to provide insight into the current patient safety issues in Dutch general practices, out-of-hours primary care centres, general dental practices, midwifery practices, and allied healthcare practices. The objectives of this study are: to determine the frequency, type, impact, and causes of incidents found in the records of primary care patients; to determine the type, impact, and causes of incidents reported by Dutch healthcare professionals; and to provide insight into patient safety management in primary care practices. Design and methods: The study consists of three parts: a retrospective patient record study of 1,000 records per practice type was conducted to determine the frequency, type, impact, and causes of incidents found in the records of primary care patients (objective one); a prospective component concerns an incident-reporting study in each of the participating practices, during two successive weeks, to determine the type, impact, and causes of incidents reported by Dutch healthcare professionals (objective two); to provide insight into patient safety management in Dutch primar
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