Doctors Told to Apologise for Negligence and Mistakes, say new guidelines

25 November 2014

Doctors Told to Apologise for Negligence and Mistakes, say new guidelines

New draft guidelines, under joint proposals from the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), will compel doctors, nurses and midwives to be honest with patients and apologise when mistakes are made. The proposals place a duty to provide “a clear and honest explanation” if something goes wrong.

In a renewed move from regulators to embody the urge for greater transparency within the NHS, frontline staff will be given training under the new “professional duty of candour” proposals which state that “Every healthcare professional must be open and honest with patients when something that goes wrong with their treatment or care causes, or has the potential to cause, harm or distress”. They will also be required to tell patients how the mistake will be corrected.

Making the NHS safer than before

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the proposals “will complement the statutory duty of candour on organisations and help make the NHS safer than ever before”. deals regularly with members of the public who have long complained about the lack of transparency current embodied by the NHS and fully welcome the joint proposals. The need for further transparency is greater than ever amidst further instances of medical mistreatment within the NHS, as evidenced by new figures from the NHS Litigation Authority which showed that payments related to clinical negligence have increased from £592m in 2005-2006 to £1.3bn in 2012-2013.

Taking responsibility for medical mistreatment

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said “Patients deserve a clear and honest explanation if something has gone wrong with their care” – and that the new guidance “will ensure that doctors, nurses and midwives are working to a common standard and will know exactly what their responsibilities are”.

The draft guidance is undergoing a consultation process until January 5th, with the final version due to be published in March 2015.

Patient Care Options

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