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THE BIG QUESTION

The big question: will rules ordering trusts to open up about mistakes lead to greater transparency?

The Department of Health recently announced that from April 2013 NHS providers will be contractually required to tell patients when mistakes happen, under what is described as a “duty of candour”.

However, the government’s own impact assessment of the rule change warned there was a “theoretical risk” that it would in fact lead to staff speaking up less than they do now.

It stated: “Admitting to making a mistake or being involved in an error or incident is difficult at the best of times. It is much more difficult when admitting involvement in an incident to the very person who has been harmed or someone who cares about the person who has been harmed.”  

Will the openness rule will lead to greater transparency or silence? What do you think?

Readers' comments (1)

  • michael stone

    It is impossible to tell.

    If some hospitals/etc are completely open and honest, and it turns out that they 'suffer less from complaints as a consequence', presumably 'word will spread, and so will openness'. But I don't see how you can determine that, until a reasonable number of organisations try it ?

    My gut instinct is that many Trusts, and especially many trust Lawyers, won't be awfully keen on being totally honesty and transparent about their own mistakes - and it seems possible that the 'yo-yo effect' might come into play here, as well !

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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