A recent report by the Netherlands Centre for Ethics and Health (CEG) is a valuable contribution to the discussion around patient safety and regulatory pressure in healthcare. The CEG criticizes the recent tendency to make safety the sole and absolute value in healthcare practice. Doing so, not only downplays the dilemmas healthcare professionals are confronted with, but also creates an unnecessary regulatory burden. The report shows how professional practices are more than capable of managing conflicting values (e.g. patient-centred care, efficiency, safety) and argues for giving professionals more space for making compromises. While endorsing their position, in this commentary we propose that the CEG could have gone one step further by emphasizing the need for stimulating resilience in healthcare practices. This can create a platform for a different, more bottom-up and practice-based perspective on rules and accountability. Resilience puts additional demands on the reflexive capabilities of healthcare professionals. However, regulators can develop methods to stimulate such reflexivity.
Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.