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Patients assume passive role to avoid 'difficult' label

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Illness and patients’ perceptions of their status as subordinate to clinicians are the most important barriers to their active involvement in reducing clinical errors, according to researchers from the University of Surrey.

They reviewed 68 studies on patient safety initiatives and patient perspectives of involvement in the safety of their care.

Writing in the journal Social Science and Medicine, the authors said: “In sum, patients’ fear of being labelled ‘difficult’…. may cause them to assume a passive role as a means of actively protecting their personal safety.”

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