The National Patient Safety Agency, responsible for monitoring errors across the country, believes an apology could cut the number of complaints and legal actions against NHS trusts, and has urged staff to be more open and honest about their errors.
NPSA chief executive Martin Fletcher said honesty was always the best policy, but conceded that admitting to mistakes could be difficult.
“Being open is the right thing to do. Making a genuine apology to a patient and their family after an error has occurred is a very hard thing for any clinician.”
The NPSA has received 500,000 reports in last six months. Of these, the vast majority were routine errors, but around 5,700 resulted in serious injury or death.