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Safety in healthcare has traditionally focused on avoiding harm by learning from error.  This approach may miss opportunities to learn from excellent practice.  Excellence in healthcare is highly prevalent, but there is no formal system to capture it.  We tend to regard excellence as something to gratefully accept, rather than something to study and understand. 

Our preoccupation with avoiding error and harm in healthcare has resulted in the rise of rules and rigidity, which in turn has cultivated a culture of fear and stifled innovation.  It is time to redress the balance.  We believe that studying excellence in healthcare can create new opportunities for learning and improving resilience and staff morale.

Following on from the experiences of the PICU team at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, our colleagues at Birmingham Children's Hospital, led by Dr Adrian Plunkett, have been capturing and studying peer – reported excellence in healthcare for over 2 years. 

We have decided to learn from their example and are launching a pilot of the Learning from Excellence methodology in Glasgow PICU from February 2017.