Medics Now Instructed to Say Sorry for Their Mistakes
We've written previously about the need for healthcare professionals, particularly in the NHS, to be more forthcoming with apologising when things go wrong. But, new rules concerning this may be extended to individual medics as well as the NHS and private healthcare organisations.
Doctors, nurses and midwives across the UK will be expected to give face-to-face apologises to patients when things go wrong in new guidelines referring to a "duty of candour."
As soon as things go wrong, an apology is expected with an explanation of how the error will affect their health.
Both the General Medical Council (GMC)
and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
drew up the guidelines that apply to more than 950,000 doctors, nurses and midwives in the field working in the UK. The guidelines even go as far as saying an apology may include words like "I am sorry" to avoid any doubt as to what's meant by the new rules.
The Francis Report into the Stafford Hospital scandal revealed that a culture of secrecy and silence was perpetuated by the fear that the reputation of the hospital would be damaged if anyone found out about the poor -of care and neglect patients suffered. What most would consider human nature, apologising when things have gone wrong, became something that was unheard of and even frowned upon. This means issues are left to fester to the point that an apology will never be enough and compensation becomes the first option.
Sorry Won't Stop the Negligence
Jackie Smith, chief executive of the NMC commented on the situation by saying:"We can't stop mistakes from happening entirely and we recognise that sometimes things go wrong. The test is how individuals and organisations respond to those instances and the culture they build as a result."
For those that do become a victim of the negligence of a doctor, nurse or midwife, an apology may help at the time but it does not rectify the situation when negligence has occurred which may have led to life changing events.For those that want to pursue medical negligence compensation, solicitors like our Partner and Assistant Head of Medical Negligence Helen Donaghy are on hand to take your case against medical professionals that have fallen short of their duty of care.