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Addressing a gap: a qualitative analysis of Scotland’s Drowning and Incident Review process


Objectives Drowning is a leading cause of fatalities worldwide and Scotland carries a disproportionate number of drownings compared with its UK neighbours. Drowning data captured in Scotland are often incomplete and the Drowning and Incident Review (DIR) is a new process designed to help improve the capture of data and help inform future preventative measures. The aim of this study was to explore the perspectives and views of key stakeholders on the facilitators and barriers of implementing the DIR as well as areas for its future sustainability.

Methods A qualitative approach was used with in-depth interviews using key participants. Participants were identified using purposive sampling, through use of a stakeholder analysis. Participants watched a hypothetical DIR and then participated in a semistructured interview. Questions focused on DIR facilitators, barriers and areas for future sustainability. Qualitative data were then analysed using thematic analysis.

Results A total of 14 participants took part in the study. Results found: three facilitator themes (addresses a gap, design of DIR, safe space), four barrier themes (representation, resource, legal concerns, control concerns) and four areas for future sustainability (the voluntary nature, framework agreement, political prioritisation and the human element). These themes were then discussed within this paper in relation to findings from research on similar review processes.

Conclusion The research was the first of its kind and the findings are therefore extremely important to provide a first exploration and insight into facilitators and barriers of the DIR as well as areas for its future sustainability.

  • Drowning
  • Qualitative research
  • Policy
  • Mortality

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article. Additional deidentified data may be available on request and if, in accordance with ethics approval.

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