Significant event analysis (SEAs) Significant event analysis (SEAs)

Significant event analyses (SEAs) describe events which may not have a serious outcome but may highlight areas from which lessons could be learnt.

Important note – don't confuse SEAs with significant events within a secondary care setting which refer to a critical or serious untoward incident. In general practice, an SEA is really just a case review by another name.

SEAs can be very wide-ranging. It would be very unusual if a GP didn't encounter several significant events over the course of a year. The challenge, therefore, is mentally logging which incidents might be suitable.


Examples could include:

  • Prescribing errors
  • Failure to action an abnormal result
  • Any new cancer diagnosis
  • Any complaints received by the practice
  • A delay in diagnosis
  • A missed diagnosis
  • Dealing with a medical emergency
  • A breach in confidentiality
  • A breakdown in communication
  • Coping with a staffing crisis
  • A sudden unexpected death or hospitalisation


When recording an SEA, you should aim to demonstrate that you are aware of any patterns in types of incidents or events recorded about your practice and any lessons learned. You should also try to evidence actions taken or changes implemented to prevent such events or incidents happening again – where possible these should link to your PDP and CPD.