NHS clinicians could in future be made to apologise if patients are harmed due to medical negligence.
The new government proposals, reportedly under discussion, suggest healthcare bosses would be made to adhere to a legal “duty of candour” that would force them to explain and apologise for any errors committed.
Government officials, including chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson and health minister Ann Keen, have already given their support to the proposals, according to the Guardian.
Ms Keen said in a letter to Action Against Medical Accidents that she agrees a “culture of openness and transparency is vital”.
Last year, £807m was paid out to injured parties due to medical negligence.
A recent report published by the Imperial Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality revealed around a sixth of patients treated by the NHS are misdiagnosed.
Clinical negligence specialist at Kester Cunningham John, Sandra Patton, said litigation would not take place if doctors were more candid and explained what happens if things go wrong.