NHS to introduce contractual duty to admit safety failings

Medical Government/ NHS related news

The government has announced new measures that aim to make NHS organisations such as hospitals more transparent in terms of admitting mistakes and safety failings.

Under new plans, the NHS Commissioning Board will be required to include a duty of openness in all commissioning contracts, meaning NHS bodies will be compelled to tell patients if their safety has been compromised.

Currently, there is an informal expectation that this will happen anyway, but the new change - which is set to come into effect in April 2013 - will make this a legal duty.

The final details of this new measure are yet to be finalised, but it is likely that breaches of the protocol will require chief executives to apologise in writing to patients and report the incident to the Care Quality Commission.

Health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: "Patients place great faith in the NHS organisations that treat them and they in turn have a duty to be honest and open about every aspect of care they deliver."

This comes after new plans were announced earlier this week to strengthen the safeguards in place to ensure continuity for people relying on care services in cases where providers collapse, such as with Southern Cross.

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