Nurses are to be required by their code of conduct to report “near misses” that could have led to patient harm and will also be required to tell patients when errors have occurred, however minor.
The measures were announced last week as part of the government’s response to the Francis report.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council will work with other regulators to agree a consistent duty to be candid with patients when mistakes occur, whether serious or not.
The regulators will also issue guidance making it clear that clinicians have a responsibility to report “near misses” that could have led to death or serious injury, as well as actual harm. The government said the move was inspired by normal practice in the airline industry.
The NMC will make clear that obstructing colleagues in being candid will be a breach of their professional codes.
Jackie Smith, NMC chief executive and registrar, said: “We will work with other regulators and prepare guidance on candour around near misses.
“We will also make clear that a professional obstructing candour or raising concerns can be a fitness to practise issue,” she added.
The government also announced a new criminal offence for wilful neglect so that managers or clinicians found “responsible for the very worst failures in care are held accountable”.
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